“I’m going to take a lazy day today.”
Okay, there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s called a day off, and it’s a magical thing. But when every day is a “lazy day,” there’s a problem. Sometimes we just need a kick in the butt to get us up and moving, so we can handle our business effectively. However, often, laziness has a deeper and darker cause that we don’t want to think about, let alone acknowledge. Here are 7 ways to stop being lazy and become more productive!
1) Find out the root cause.
Are you burned out from working 27 hours a day, 9 days a week since before you can remember? This is a signal that you need a rest or a change. Human beings are not meant to work all the time. Our paleolithic ancestors worked, on average, about 20 hours a week. (Yeah, we members of modern society are getting hosed.) Maybe you feel overwhelmed, are afraid to fail at the task, or you just don’t want to do the task; these are discrete problems with separate solutions. Finding out the root cause of your laziness can help you make the changes you need to make to be a more effective and energetic person.
2) Find your passion for the work.
You started doing what you do for a reason, but sometimes, even the tasks we love the most can become dreary and mundane. When this happens, remind yourself why you started doing it in the first place. You must have had a passion for it at some point, or you wouldn’t be bothering with it. Remind yourself of the good points of the work, not just the parts that suck.
3) Break up your time.
People work more efficiently when they have ample rest time. Working in short, focused bursts is far more effective than trying to slog through the task all at once. (College students: Remember that last term paper that you finished in three hours at 4am, working on caffeine, nicotine, and adrenaline? Yeah. I thought so.) Not only will you be happier with the end product, but you’ll feel better and more energized after completing it.
4) Look at ways you can do the task more efficiently.
When possible, work smarter instead of harder. We’ve already talked about why working hard doesn’t work as well. If you can find a better way to do the task, you’re more likely to enjoy it because you’re not simply performing the task by rote, but rather, using your creativity and imagination to their best effect. This will make you feel better about the job and probably enjoy it more, too.
5) Ask for help or support.
Sometimes, we just need a little extra backup. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help from a more motivated coworker, friend, or family member. This is a useful way to get you up and moving, because they will motivate you to do the task. At the same time, you may be doing them a favor by motivating them to work harder. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone!
6) Think about why you don’t want to do the task.
This sounds like a rehash of number 1, but it’s really not. Some jobs we don’t want to do because they’re just not fun. Mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, or getting under the car and replacing the alternator all have one thing in common. People don’t like doing these jobs because they take time and energy, they’re not pleasant, and we know that sooner or later, we’ll just be doing the same thing all over again. However, instead of thinking about why you don’t want to do the task, think about the benefits. Your car will run better, the Homeowners’ Association won’t be leaving you a nasty gram for the sixth time this month, and your house will look nicer and feel more welcoming. By turning a negative into a positive, you’ll find your outlook about these tasks will be more positive too.
7) Force yourself.
Sometimes there’s just no getting around it. All the good advice and wishes in the world won’t make the job look any better. In these cases, you need to remember you’re an intelligent, mature member of Homo Sapiens, and get off your butt. While it may not be fun at the time, you can look back on the task you did later and say, “Yeah. I did that.” You shouldn’t have to force yourself out of bed every morning (this is a warning sign of depression that you should NOT ignore), but every once in a while, we need to force ourselves to do something we just don’t want to do. Believe it or not, you’ll be proud of yourself once the task is done.
How do you beat laziness? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!