Everybody loves being lazy sometimes. In moderation, taking time to relax and replenish energy is good for you. Enjoying bursts of laziness can help you reduce stress and clear your mind, allowing you to return to work with a fresh perspective. So, by all means, don’t feel bad about planting yourself on the couch to watch a movie when you get home from work.
Laziness becomes a problem when it starts to devour the time you’ve set aside for productive work. A few minutes scrolling on Twitter can quickly turn into an hour, which can lead to a whole afternoon gone in the blink of an eye.
Those vanishing hours can provoke frustration, anxiety , and guilt — especially if productivity is a value you strive to uphold. The fact that accidental laziness can lower mood reinforces lazy behavior in the hours, days, even weeks to come.
If you find yourself in a spiral of channel-surfing, web-browsing, couch-bound laziness, now’s the time to get up, dust yourself off and start a new trend that prioritizes productivity while still leaving you enough time to relax. Here are five ways to learn how to stop being lazy and start reaching your goals.
1. Figure out the Root Problem
There are several reasons people may act or feel lethargic. If your laziness is caused by a pure, undying hatred of everything work-related, then that’s going to be difficult to change. However, if you think your laziness might be linked to something else, discovering the cause and addressing it could be beneficial.
Some people struggle with motivation because of depression, anxiety or low self-confidence. Procrastinating and laziness are often related to the fear that you might not be good enough at the things you need to do.
If this sounds like you, it can be helpful to examine the successes you’ve had in the past. Can you think of a time when you thought you did a terrible job only to have someone compliment you on your work later? What about a time when you improved at something you initially struggled with?
These questions can remind you how capable you are and inspire you to continue developing.
Additionally, if depression or other mental health conditions are sapping your energy both mentally and physically, it might be a good idea to talk to an expert. Though this may not be the only cause of low motivation, it could play a significant role.
2. Remind Yourself of Your Goals
A large driving factor of productivity is the ability to connect work with results. If you’re in a job you don’t like or are bored with your daily tasks, it can be difficult to see this connection.
To spark motivation and stave off the longing to flop down on the sofa, remind yourself of your goals. These could be as small as earning enough money to treat a friend to a nice meal or as large as being a top professional in your field.
Even if it’s hard to see the results right away, hard work is always rewarded — in money, appreciation, personal growth or bragging rights. Try to remember that.
3. Trick Yourself Into Being Productive
You can trick yourself into being more productive in many ways. Though they all may not work for everyone, they’re intentionally simple and help your brain form new habits.
One example of a quick brain hack is to tell yourself you’ll only work on whatever it is you’re avoiding for 10 minutes. Set a timer and get started. By the time the alarm goes off, it’s likely you will have gained enough momentum to continue with the task until it’s finished.
Tricks like this one can ease the perceived difficulty of starting a task, allowing you to break a lazy streak.
4. Find a Friend
Studies have shown that people are more productive when those around them are working, as well. The accountability and increased motivation you’ll feel from having a friend around could be the push you need to get on your feet.
If you’re trying to meet a long-term goal, such as getting fit, ask a friend to go on the journey with you. That way, neither of you will skip the gym because both of you will be counting on each other to show up.
5. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. Though becoming a more efficient worker can help you get more done, meet more ambitious goals and have more time to do things you enjoy, you should never sacrifice your mental or physical health for productivity. Take rest when you need it and don’t feel guilty. By following these tips, you can find a more healthy balance of work and play.
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