17 Uncommon Tips to Overcome Commonplace Laziness

overcome lazinessDo you know this feeling – you are neither tired, nor stressed out, nor overwhelmed. Just a little bit bored, a little bit apathetic, a little bit unmotivated, and a little bit of everything that makes you not want to work… or think hard…or feel obligated to do what you know you should be doing.

There is just some kind of mental resistance that does not allow you to be productive or creative. As if someone has turned off the inner switch of your excitement and desire to make things happen.
I wonder where this feeling comes from and what it is all about?

I know that when I felt like that as a girl, my parents usually called this delicate emotional state of mine – being lazy. Well, if I had to come up with a definition of commonplace laziness – the symptoms would match, but it is still hard to accept that years later– conscious and hard-working individuals can fall prey to something as banal as laziness.

But the fact remains – there are days when we leave some of the tasks on our to-do list unchecked, and there are days when we resist doing anything.

So how do we overcome this laziness state? How do we turn our excitement and productivity back on? How do we re-motivate ourselves to get going?

Some of the tricks I use to get myself back on track

1. Have a plan. Often laziness strikes us when we are not sure what to do next. We lack clarity of what has to be done and why. If this is the case a detailed daily plan or a to-do list can quickly eliminate confusion and funnel your efforts in the right direction.

2. Act on impulse. Do not over-think work. Even the slightest spark of desire to get something done is enough to start your inner productivity engine going.

3. Practice a 15-minute rule. Promise yourself you will do something for 15 minutes and after that if you do not feel like continuing, you will stop. Often 15 minutes are enough to boost your motivation and break free from the state of apathy.

4. Get enough sleep. We often do not put two and two together, but often the lack of energy and absence of focus are logical side-effects of insufficient or poor-quality sleep.

5. Limit distractions. Even the tiniest of distractions quickly turn into legitimate excuses for slacking.

6. Make it a challenge. Pick one of the tasks from your to-do list that you have been procrastinating against? Can you finish it in a half an hour? How about proving it to yourself by actually making it your challenge of the day?

7. Try this simple productivity technique.

8. Begin with the task you enjoy the most. Why not follow the road of least resistance instead of trying to motivate yourself to get the biggest and most time-consuming tasks out of the way first? Start your day with the task you enjoy the most, build momentum, celebrate your quick successes and save some of your enthusiasm for your second-favorite task.

9. List the reasons why you want to get something done. Note that I said “want”, not “need”. Find your intrinsic motivation. Do not force yourself.

10. Create a sense of urgency. One of the most important time-management proverbs, also known to many as Parkinson’s Law states, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” You have probably noticed it yourself – we are most focused and most productive at the very end of our deadlines. Therefore, to become productive NOW, the task we need to complete should feel urgent. How can we do that? By adjusting, moving and setting our own deadlines, of course.

11. Get up and do something different. There is nothing better to shake off apathy and boredom as adding a little spice and flavor to your daily routine. When you do not feel productive, do not force yourself to sit and stare at the monitor. Get up, make yourself a cup of tea, jump along the corridor while no one is watching or go up to the roof top to see the city view.

12. Talk to someone who is enthusiastic and positive. When you feel down, talk to people who are excited about their job. Their enthusiasm, positivity and business-like manner will rub off you.

13. Delegate or swap tasks. Are there any tasks that you do not mind doing that your colleague would prefer to delegate? Maybe you can mutually benefit from swapping your most unpleasant tasks for one day?

14. Listen to upbeat music. Great music recharges your energy and lifts your spirits.

15. Do not overeat. Your mind and body can not function at full capacity when 80% of your mental and physical resources have been mobilized to digest a 3 course meal that you ate at lunch.

16. Read quotes on productivity. Maybe one of these quotes will resonate with you and drag you out of “I don’t feel like doing it” state.

17. Reward yourself. The old carrot and stick motivation still works. Promise yourself an appealing reward and you might leap to action.

Do you sometimes feel the negative side-effects of commonplace laziness?

What do you do to get yourself going?

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  • Shukri M. Mohamed

    Well, Irinushka, that is a real vivid  descreption to the problem, and great practical suggestions to solve it…no doubt. But, what about the real deep reasons behind the problem, in the first place? And why do we all think, about ourselves and about the others, that there must be something wrong with us, which prevents us from doing what we have to do? Why should we feel guilty, all the time? Aren’t there any “external” reasons for people not being able to act? That is what I would like to know your opinion about, if You will find the time for it, kindly. Please Irinushka, feel free not to respond to this comment, if You think that it is out of the range of Your interest. Brilliantly done, thank You very much, indeed. 

    • Arina

      Hi Shukri M. Mohamed. Thank you for your comment and for your profound questions. 

      You are right, there might be some deep psychological reasons that prevent us from doing something what we know must to be done. For example, a conflict between our core values and anti-values can be one of the underlying reasons for our inner resistance to act on our goals. You can read it here and maybe it will help to answer your questions:
      http://www.arinanikitina.com/values-and-anti-values-%E2%80%93-the-key-to-inner-peace-and-lasting-harmony.html I do not think that we should not feel guilty about being unproductive once in a while, but the way I see it –  if we can change our state of mind and fire up our intrinsic motivation, why not do it? Would you explain to me what did you mean when you talked about ‘external’ reasons for people not being able to act? Thank you again for your desire to get to the bottom of the ‘occasional laziness’ issue.

    • Anonymous

      This is an interesting question Shukri. If I may entertain it more…..
      Sometimes our laziness is due to a lack of interest.
      Our lack of interest can be the result of so many things: Under Appreciation, Lack of Fulfillment or Self-Achievement, Unclear Destination, Losing Hope……
      “Yes, it isn’t that I am too lazy to hang-on to the safety tube, it is that I know it won’t take me to where I want to go”.
      “Yes, I got up, shaved, changed my pajamas, forced my lips to draw a smile, then crawled back under the covers”.

      I know that this happens when there is “Nothing to Look Forward To”. So maybe that the topic that you are hoping Arina can address.

      Very valid Shukri!!

      Excellent article Arina as usual!!

  • Don

    A very refreshing article!  The word “laziness” has practically passed from circulation in favor of the less threatening term “procrastination”.  I like point #2 – act on impulse.  Some thought should precede action however. But once a decision is made successful people waste very little time moving ahead.

  • Sajid Hameed567

    thanks for valuable quotes, keep writting your valuable thoughts to help other. thanks

    • Arina

      Thank you, Sajid Hameed567. I’m glad that you liked them. :)

  • Ravi Teja

    thanks Arina! these are really what i need now

  • T Thamizhchelvan

    Thank u Arina, for ur selfless service.