I love a good lazy day, especially when it’s cloudy and rainy as if the universe is telling you that it’s okay to stay in bed and binge on Netflix.
There’s nothing wrong with an occasional lazy day. But, when one lazy day turns into a few or more, you don’t get things done and can start feeling like you’re not doing enough or aren’t good enough.
If you’re familiar with that feeling, you know it can be easy to look at other people and everything they’re accomplishing and feel like there’s something wrong with you. But there’s not.
According to research by the University of British Columbia, humans might be hardwired and evolutionarily conditioned for laziness. Our bodies have been conditioned since the beginning of time to want to conserve energy. Pre-modern society this was essential for our survival, and today it’s a condition our brains have a hard time letting go of.
Now that you know your laziness is not all your fault, here’s how to stop being lazy so that you can accomplish your big goals and live your best life.
1. Find Passion
It’s hard to get anything done when we’re feeling uninspired.
If your job itself crushes your inspiration, then it might be time to look for something new.
That’s scary, I know because about two years ago I quit my comfortable, and secure 9 to 5 without a real backup plan. I didn’t hate my job, but I wasn’t passionate about it, and quitting was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
If you’re not ready to quit your job, really need the financial security, or want a solid backup plan first, that’s totally understandable. But you can still focus on your passions.
Find something you love, and do it on the side, whether that’s volunteering for a nonprofit, learning how to build websites, or making art.
These hobbies can give you a source of passion outside of work, which will provide you with more motivation in all aspects of life. Or with enough hard work and effort, they can turn into new ways of making money.
For some inspiration, check out these entrepreneurs who turned their side hustles into full-time jobs. Or these well-known entrepreneurs and celebrities who made more from their side hustles than their main gig.
2. Forget Your Fear of Failure
If we think we’re going to fail or not do as well as we’d like, it can be tempting to be lazy and avoid things entirely.
I’m not here to tell you you’re never going to fail, because failure is an inevitable part of life. But to go for it anyway because failing doesn’t mean you won’t be successful.
Some of the most famous and successful people in the world grew from failure – like Walt Disney and Oprah. And research shows that while failure doesn’t feel the best emotionally, it doesn’t hinder performance in any way.
So if the fear of failure triggers your laziness, remind yourself that Walt Disney was fired for lacking creativity. And that’s not the last time he failed before creating Disney. Or think of how Oprah was once fired because she wasn’t “fit for television.”
You can also remind yourself of times in the past when you were afraid of failing and instead succeeded. Even if these are small wins, they can fuel the motivation for bigger ones.
3. Change Your Work Environment
Working in the same place every single day can put a damper on anyone’s motivation and lead to being lazy. If at all possible, mix things up.
Take your work to a coffee shop, coworking space, or library, especially if you regularly work from home alone, or in a secluded office. Research shows that moving your work to an area where other people are hard at work can help you get more done.
Most businesses these days allow for flexible work conditions, but even if yours doesn’t, you can still change your work environment.
If you can’t get out of your office or cubicle, clean up your space, and change the decor. Simple changes, such as adding a plant to your work area, can increase productivity by 15% and boost workplace satisfaction.
4. Tackle Two Minute Tasks
David Allen, productivity expert and author of “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity,” uses a two-minute rule for emails. Whenever an email comes into his inbox that can be handled in two minutes or less, he takes care of it right away.
Applying this rule to other things can help get you out of a laziness rut without much effort. Every time a task that will only take two minutes crosses your mind, do it right away.
Make your bed, wash a few dishes, delete a couple of emails, organize a few things around your home, throw in a load of laundry. These easy and quick tasks will likely fuel you to keep getting things done. Even if that fuel burns out, at least you’ve taken care of some things already.
5. Switch Your Self-Talk
When we’re feeling lazy, it can be easy to get into negative self-talk and tell ourselves, “I’ll never get this done.” Instead, try saying, “I’ll do my best and finish as much as I can.”
It’s also helpful to think of “have to” as “want to.” Instead of “ugh I have to clean” or “ugh I have to finish all this work” think “I deserve a clean space to live in, so I want to clean” or “I deserve that paycheck or promotion, I want to get as much done as possible.”
Narrative shifts are powerful. Positive thinking can reduce anxiety and stress, making it easier to get things done.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Never moving, eating unhealthy foods, and hardly getting any sleep makes the perfect recipe for laziness.
To kickstart healthier habits, try to keep your home and office space stocked with only healthy options (and find healthy foods and snacks that taste good too).
Find a form of movement that you enjoy, for maximized benefits pick an aerobic activity like cycling or dancing. Research shows that engaging in aerobic activity for only 10 minutes leads to a significant energy boost and mental kickstart.
Try out some sleepy time tea blends for an uninterrupted night of sleep.
And don’t forget to stay hydrated. These will all boost your energy levels and have you feeling better, making it easier to stop being lazy.
7. Make Tasks More Enjoyable
Whether it’s a work task you can’t stand or a cleaning chore you loathe, find a way to make it fun. Tune into some music or podcasts while you work or clean or find something positive to focus on.
As a freelance writer, sometimes I get to write about really interesting topics. Other times I write about things that I’m far less interested in.
When I write about the less exciting topics, I try to focus on someone in my life who would appreciate the information I’m sharing. Or putting myself in the shoes of a stranger who would learn something from my work. This makes things a little bit less tedious.
Another way to make tasks more enjoyable is by working smarter instead of harder. If you can find a new and improved way to accomplish a task, you’ll enjoy it more because you’ll be using your creativity and imagination.
Plus you’ll be using your laziness for good, by finding a way to get things done with less effort.
8. Break Up Your Time and Your Tasks
Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do can easily lead to laziness. So focus on breaking up your time and tasks instead of taking them all on at once.
Elon Musk and Bill Gates are two of the most successful people in the world. They manage their busy schedules by breaking up all their tasks into 5-minute time slots.
Customize this method to fit your schedule and tasks.
Often trying to work on something for 10 minutes will make you feel less overwhelmed and get the ball rolling on working for another 10, and so on.
Breaking down big projects into smaller, more manageable steps has a similar impact on boosting productivity and helping you stop being lazy.
9. Treat Yourself
Sometimes the best way to stop being lazy and get things done is with the motivation of a reward. Research shows that immediate rewards boost motivation and increase eagerness to continue working on tasks.
Your reward can be making progress towards your big goals, like landing a promotion, owning your own business, or paying off some debt. Or you can celebrate the completion of a big task or project with a fun night out or your favorite food.
Your reward can even be some well-deserved lazy time, no judgment here.
10. Ditch Distractions
Netflix is my biggest partner in crime when it comes to laziness. I’m guilty of the never-ending loop of “just one more episode” that keeps me from getting things done.
The only way to ditch distractions is to make them as hard to access as possible.
Research shows that the presence of our smartphones, even if they are shut off, reduces cognitive capacity, and leads to brain drain – making it harder to accomplish tasks.
Keep your phone in another room, use site blocking apps or plugins, unplug your TV, whatever it takes to limit your distractions.
11. Develop a Morning Routine
Morning routines are a common habit of the most successful people. And the best part? You don’t have to wake up much earlier to have one (although that does help).
Setting some time aside in the morning to meditate, read while you enjoy your morning tea or coffee, fit in some movement, or prepare a healthy breakfast can help you stop being lazy.
12. Write Down Your Goals and Place Reminders Everywhere
Sometimes we get lazy because we forget what we’re working for, and all it takes to get us to stop being lazy is a reminder.
Plus, research has shown that writing down goals significantly increases the chances of achieving them. So write down your goals and place them where they can be seen. Update whenever you accomplish a goal or have a new one.
No matter how long you’ve spent being lazy or how many setbacks have come between you and your goals, you can change it all today. What’s your favorite way to stop being lazy? Share below!