Are you surprised to see an article about laziness right here? Probably. After all, this is the last thing one would expect in a productivity blog. However, if you think that productive people are never lazily, you are wrong! In fact, I’ll share with you how important it is to allow yourself to be lazy if you want to be more productive. I’ll also provide you with some hacks to overcome your laziness and understand what may probably stand behind it and how to stop being lazy by turning that “bad” habit into something good.
How to overcome laziness?
Laziness and work-life balance
Anyone who has undergone some form of a training about productivity and self-improvement or has informed himself about how to be more efficient knows that all productivity gurus explicitly advise you to plan some time off or, in other words, to allow yourself some “lazy time” every day.
Doing nothing and being lazy is important to recharge the batteries and not get exhausted. If you allow yourself to have some time off and just be lazy for a while regularly, you’ll end up doing more than if you put off the break for “when I can” or “when I’m done”.
But what if you are always lazy when it comes to work, even if you are resting regularly and have a general desire and motivation to work? In this case, what you may feel like laziness may be a sign of something else – such as exhaustion, demotivation or lack of meaning in the specific task. That’s why it is a good idea to look for what really stands behind “I am lazy”.
In this post, I’ll suggest you one approach to laziness, which may help you turn it into a friend of yours rather than trying to fight it without success. What’s more, I’ve used those methods to address and analyze my laziness when it comes to particular tasks and I can say that this has helped me to become more motivated, to understand what actually causes my laziness, and, respectively, to be more productive.
Feel free to steal those methods and maybe add some more from your experience in the comments section below. So here they are:
How to overcome your laziness?
1. When you are feeling lazy, write down what you are doing right now, what work is due to be done and how you feel – both in terms of the work that expects you and in general. Describe what is your mood, is it related to your work or something else that is happening at the moment, how is your health, etc. Then put these notes aside so you can get back to them later.
2. Stop working and take a rest. Prepare something nice to eat, grab a refreshing drink, read a good book, or listed to an audiobook. Spend some time outside or do a short walk. Allow yourself a short nap or just get distracted for some 15-20 minutes at your favorite site, read some jokes, etc. In short, do something that you can easily do at the moment and which will relax you.
3. Write how you feel after the break and get back to work. If you are still feeling lazy, write down that too.
4. When you collect a dozen similar notes from different days, it’s time to analyze them and look for what might stand behind your “laziness” or what your laziness might be trying to tell you.
How to stop being lazy – time for analysis:
To make a good analysis of the situation, look at each case of “laziness” from your notes individually. Ask the following questions for each case described and use the notes you wrote in order to answer the questions:
1. Did I feel healthy and energetic? Does this situation have anything to do with the others described? For example, from the notes, it may appear that I’m lazy when I eat some heavy food for lunch, when I skip meals or when I forget to hydrate myself during the day… or when I feel the first symptoms of a cold.
Is it possible that “laziness” is due to a health problem? Or, your lack of motivation to get things done may be due to the fact that you are feeling uncomfortable – you may be getting frequent backache or neck pain and stiffness due to the pose which might be giving you the general unwillingness to sit and work. If this is the case, then you may need to arm yourself with some simple productivity products, which can add to your comfort while working.
It is very likely that your “laziness” may be due to physical fatigue or even illness. If you notice signs of this, consider whether the feeling of laziness and your general lack of desire to work coincides with certain physical conditions (if necessary, continue taking such notes for about a month) and think how you can influence them.
If you do not see an obvious reason for more physical tiredness lately, and you feel it for more than a week, it’s worth seeing your GP and checking if everything is okay.
General laziness may also be related to your food habits. The lack of proper nutrition and balanced meals can have a significant impact in your energy levels and your mind clarity, concentration, and motivation to work. Your productivity can directly be influenced by your food choices.
Therefore, it is worth to analyze your eating habits as well. Here is an article where I explain the importance of good food and how that can boost our energy and productivity. There is also a list of superfoods which you can immediately incorporate in your daily meals for instant lift of your mood and energy.
2. Do I have motivation and energy to work in general or not? Do I feel overloaded with too many tasks recently?
Even if you have energy to work and feel good physically, maybe your tasks are so many that you do not know where to start and how to tackle them effectively, and in the end, you don’t even feel like starting them. If this is the case, then it’s worth thinking about whether and how you can organize, optimize and unload some of them. For example, by giving up certain commitments or asking for help from a colleague, or applying some techniques that can help you get more organized.
Sometimes, disorganization can be so demotivating that it can be masked as laziness, where in reality, all you may need to do is to put things in order, organize and prioritize to start tackling your tasks more effectively.
Is your desk overloaded? Are you surrounded by a chaos of papers that give you no idea where to start? Put things back in their place, clean your working space and make yourself comfortable. Then see if you feel different and more motivated than before. Did organization help you deal with your laziness?
3. How do I feel about what I was doing or what I was about to do when I felt lazy? Do I see any sense in this activity? Is this activity nice or not and why? Did I wanted to do it or did I have to? How will I feel if I don’t (have to) do it anymore?
This step of the analysis moves from the general feeling of overloading to the consideration of each task individually.
Very often it turns out that a specific task is hindering us and suddenly we feel lazy when we get to it. (For me, for example, everything about administration and boring bookkeeping or data entering makes me feel so lazy and demotivated that I can fall asleep at the desk while I do it.)
I, therefore, recommend that you look at the specific thing that was on your agenda at the moment of recording your laziness. This way, you can easily find out what tasks are not pleasant and motivating for you, and why. Then you can think about whether and how you can do something to exclude them from your schedule or modify them in such a way that you can do them easily.
With this method, I’ve discovered things that make no sense at all but only make me feel lazy when I reach to them. Typically, the following happens: at some level, I feel that the task in question that makes me lose my motivation and become lazy has no value to me, or the people I work with or my clients. Still, I keep adding it by habit for some time and include it in my schedule when there is no reason to.
When I take the time to look objectively at the activity and the results it brings, however, I can safely go without it. You can do the same for your tasks, once you analyze them, and figure out if there is something you can remove from your to-do list that only acts as a stopper to your productivity and makes you lazy.
It is also possible to detect a large number of tasks that do not motivate you. Even on the contrary, they bore you to the core, but you have to continue doing them just as often as you did before and without being able to change them. In this case, if this is bringing your motivation and productivity down and makes you lazy at work, then maybe it’s worth to consider if you really want to continue doing a job whose nature (the everyday tasks that make up the job) is so boring and uncomfortable.
That’s what happened to me a few years ago – and that’s exactly how I found out that I do not want to keep doing what I was doing, even though I had proven good skills in those areas.
So, my suggestion is, try this method to describe the moments when you feel lazy and analyze the tasks that make you feel this way. Then see for yourself how far this will lead you – the possibilities are countless.
I’ve found out that to be a productive person, there is no need to fight laziness like it is your enemy. Instead, turn it into a friend by following the methods above and it will pay you back with better concentration and a healthy work-life balance.
A Little Note & Thanks
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