I want to talk about laziness. Why? Because it happens to the best of us. And, while occasionally laziness has its perks, it can be a problem when;
- You shut off your alarm and stay in bed longer.
- Despite all your plans, you end up watching TV or sitting idle.
- Your wasted day worries you at night, so you promise to be productive tomorrow. Nevertheless, the next day you’re still unable to work.
- There were too many things left undone on your list, and the day seems to have flown by.
If you’ve experienced any of the above, then you’ve come to the right place. Why? Because I’m going to share with you ten practical tips on reducing your laziness and elevating your productivity.
1. Arrest your laziness culprit.
“Are you burned out from working 27 hours a day, nine days a week since before you can remember?” asks J.S. Wayne for Lifehack. “This is a signal that you need a rest or a change.”
“Human beings are not meant to work all the time,” he adds. After all, even our paleolithic ancestors worked less than we do — on average, they put in about 20 hours a week at work. “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,” he suggests. But, in addition to being burned out, some other culprits include:
- Your plate is overflowing with a cluttered calendar and too many time commitments. So instead, focus on the vital few.
- Having low self-esteem or a harsh inner critic. Silence them through positive self-talk.
- You’re not well physically or mentally. You know the drill. Get enough sleep, exercise, and make better food choices. And, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
- You don’t like the task. In life, we have to do things we don’t enjoy. Either delegate these tasks or find motivation through consequences.
- There isn’t a defined plan. Instead, consider what small and attainable steps you’ll need to take to accomplish your goals.
- The fear of failure. It’s real, but take one step at a time, prepare for the worst-case scenario, and redefine failure.
- You’re waiting for motivation to strike. Sorry, it’s not going to happen. Sometimes, you need to suck it up and just get started.
2. Focus on meaningful work.
The key to unlocking productivity? Finding meaningful work. Sometimes, however, we can lose sight of this. Thankfully, you can follow these steps in finding meaningful work when you’re feeling lazy;
- Identify what you enjoy doing, at least the aspect of your job that you find fulfilling. Even if it’s not eating the frog, getting started on anything can kick motivation into high gear.
- In addition to doing what you’re passionate about, focus on tasks that align with your values and talent.
- You can “job craft” your job to make it something you enjoy by changing the description to be meaningful. Consequently, you’ll be more engaged and happier at work.
- Seek autonomy, like working when you’re most productive or in locations that inspire you.
- Ask others what you excel at.
3. Surround yourself with success.
I get it. You might load up your preferred streaming service or scroll through social media when you don’t feel like doing much of anything. A better idea would be turning to something that motivates you, like a TedTalk. You could also recite positive affirmations, read an inspiring biography, or jot down your accomplishments.
What’s more, try to avoid spending too much time with co-workers who don’t work. The last thing you want is to have their laziness rub off onto you. Instead, surround yourself with motivated people who are getting things done.
4. Play to your strengths.
When setting goals or getting ready for a task, reflect on what your strengths are. Then, take advantage of them by applying them to different parts of the task.
Researchers have found that focusing on strengths enhances productivity, positive feelings, and workplace engagement.
5. Make it difficult to get distracted.
It’s human nature to turn to distractions when we don’t feel like working. After all, wouldn’t you rather be outside playing with your dog, reading a book, or watching a movie instead? Instead of falling prey to distractions, identify ways to reduce them, such as;
- The work area must be conducive to productivity. Make sure you have the correct tools and equipment and keep the workspace cleaned and organized.
- Your space should be permanent, or at the least, semi-permanent. This way, you already have a dedicated area. And, by setting the room up ahead of time, you can jump right into work when it’s time.
- Turn off your gadgets. As a known expert on focus and completing tasks, Cal Newport has a system of creating focused blocks of time. During these blocks, distractions are minimized by turning off his phone and staying away from his inbox. Even if deep work isn’t the right fit, you could try removing desk clutter and putting your phone on silent when it’s time to get in the zone.
- Share your plans with those around you. Define your work and personal schedules. And share your calendar with family and colleagues so that they know when you’re available and when you’re not.
Are you continually trying to stop yourself from procrastinating? Despite the bad reputation, you might want to stop this ongoing battle.
Procrastination, in moderation, is proven to boost creativity. One study found that moderate procrastinators produced 28% more creative ideas. Allowing your brain time to create new connections and to think more freely is another way of letting an idea and thought simmer. When this occurs, creativity can emerge.
7. Do a victory dance.
Well, you can dance if you want to. But, this is more about celebrating your victories. Celebrate all achievements and gains you make — no matter how big or small as you accomplish them.
Even when you overcome setbacks, a little reward can keep pushing you forward. What’s more, the pride we experience as we meet our goals reinforces, the more we talk ourselves up. Eventually, we gain self-efficacy as we continue to accomplish something, enhancing our ability to reach our goals in the long run.
8. Try gamification.
“The concept of gamification in the workplace involves incorporating challenges and tasks to make work more engaging,” Calendar co-founder John Hall explains. “Employees are rewarded with it as a way to make work more enjoyable and meaningful for them.”
“It should be known that the goal of gamification is not to turn work into a game,” he clarifies. “Instead, the concept combines game mechanics with work responsibilities to increase productivity and make your job more interesting.” As a result, this fosters engagement, motivation, and productivity.
At the same time, this isn’t always easy when you’re flying solo. But, let’s say that a task took you two hours to complete earlier in the week. Can you beat that record?
Another idea would be introducing a little friendly competition with your colleagues. For example, you could create a points-based leaderboard.
9. Relax and do the things that you enjoy.
“Sound’s ironic, doesn’t it? Overcoming laziness by relaxing! But it works,” promises Chantalle Gerber in a Tiny Buddha post.
“Often, we become lazy because a task seems too difficult,” Gerber adds. “By relaxing and doing the things we enjoy, we allow ourselves to feel satisfied.” Feeling satisfied allows us to tackle larger tasks with more stamina.
Enjoying yourself while relaxing and taking time to think allows you to reflect, feel inspired, and work problems out.
“For example, I often feel uninspired to write articles,” she says. “I get a mental block. Writing and researching becomes an overwhelming task, so I retreat to laziness. I completely block out anything that requires hard work.”
“I have learned that as I relax and do things I enjoy, my mind is encouraged to reflect again,” Gerber notes. “It is not scared of becoming overwhelmed because it knows that I am not going to push it to do something productive if it does not want to.”
“This is how I gain inspiration again. When I relax, I suddenly find myself thinking of all these great ideas, and I regain inspiration and motivation.”
10. Recruit support.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. After all, we thrive when we are in positive, healthy relationships. So, make sure to include those who can support you in your journey.
You may need them to help you when you face obstacles or to celebrate with you when you reach your goals. It’s possible to build greater resiliency through the support and encouragement of those who we deem important.
Image credit: Pixabay; Pexels; Thank you!