Meet Gregory, a writer and the brains behind Face Dragons. He's the go-to guy for getting things done. Gregory's been living the digital nomad life in Asia for as long as anyone can remember, helping clients smash their goals. He writes on topics like software, personal knowledge management (PKM), and personal development. When he's not writing, you'll catch him at the local MMA gym, nose buried in a book, or just chilling with the family.
Finding yourself unable to do what you know will make a difference in your life is a common problem among people of every generation. Being lazy means that you won’t finish your tasks today and won’t hit your goals or have the life you want. Here’s how to stop being lazy.
We all waste time, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Michael Guttridge, a workplace psychologist, puts it this way, “Wasting time is about recharging your battery and de-cluttering.”
But when wasting time becomes the norm or you find yourself looking for distractions to avoid your to-do list, you’ve become unproductive to the point of a laziness habit.
It will take more than some self-development tips to pull you back from the brink and out of laziness. Habits are potent pulls on our behavior, and if we’re in the habit of being lazy, it can be hard to break.
Our lives depend on breaking those habits and replacing them with something more productive. Here’s how.
Create Two Visions of Your Future to Stop Being Lazy
A Vision of Heaven: Motivated
Before we focus on breaking those lazy habits, we need to create some motivation. What do you want your life to be like? Forget winning the lottery or becoming a superstar, be realistic. What would your ideal life look like if you worked hard for the next ten years?
Take some time to flesh it out.
Use whichever medium feels most comfortable to you; you can:
- Make a list
- Create a vision board
- Use a scrapbook
- Write your vision in paragraphs
- Draw your vision
A Vision of Hell: Laziness
Now imagine you continued being lazy and maybe got even worse. What would your life look like in ten years, then?
Make a second vision, just as you did the first, and show yourself how bad your life could be if your bad habits got worse.
If your version of hell isn’t enough to motivate you to stop being so lazy, you should see a doctor or licensed professional counselor. Depression, hormone imbalances, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other diseases can cause low energy levels; you should have them checked out. Other possible causes for low energy include:
- Lack of sleep
- Poor Diet
- Lack of exercise
- Overuse of stimulants, including caffeine
- Low blood sugar
What Do I need to Achieve My Dreams?
“Now you have a place to run toward and a place to run away from,” says Jordan Peterson, who uses the same method with his students.
Your vision isn’t something you can accomplish any time soon. It’s an amalgamation of your long-term goals. You may have written:
- Live in a big house with a pool.
When you struggle even getting off the couch to finish some basic tasks, somehow being successful enough to buy your dream house seems like it’s an insurmountable goal. And right now, it is.
But you don’t need to work on that goal right now. All you need to do is take one step in that direction.
Ask yourself, “What would need to be true to buy that house?”
Ask yourself sincerely and listen to the answer. It may come back as “earn $10K/month.”
Then, ask yourself, “What would need to be true to earn $10K/month?”
The answer may be, “I’d need to own a small but successful business.”
“What would need to be true to own a successful business in ten years?”
“I’d need to start the business in five years.”
This gives you five years to learn the skills you need to start a successful business. Do some research, fail several times, and get some experience. Five years is more than enough time to become a completely different person.
OK, But What Do I Do Today?
You wouldn’t go to the gym and try to bench 500 lbs on day one. You may only be able to lift the bar. The same is true of breaking your laziness, don’t try to do too much at first to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Just do one small task today. It might be the visioning exercise above. But, on the other hand, it might be half of it.
If you do more than yesterday, it’s a win.
If you keep this up for a year, you’ll start seeing the fruits of your work. But, if you go back to your lazy ways, you know what’s waiting for you.
A successful life isn’t as complicated as most seem to think. Here are the five F’s, the areas of your life you should concentrate on:
- Finances & Career
If you don’t know what to do today, create a goal for each of these areas and a task that will help you achieve the goal.
|Finances & Career
|Start a Website
|Buy a domain
|Find a partner
|Download dating app
|Weekly poker night
|Loose 20 lbs
|Start the keto diet
|Learn to juggle
|Buy juggling balls
The tasks above only take five minutes to complete. Despite only making a small impact on your goal, they are all a step in the right direction. Wasting time, putting things off, delaying, or allowing yourself to stay distracted get you nowhere.
What Are Your Excuses for Being Lazy?
Don’t buy into your own excuses.
What are they? Write down those reasons you can’t get things done, the things that keep you from taking action, and procrastinating instead. Straightening your mindset is often an important step to stop feeling lazy.
Overcoming your excuses isn’t as hard as you might think. First, ask yourself why you can’t be more productive and listen to the excuses that fill your mind. Then, tackle them one by one.
Still Struggling to Get Moving?
If you’ve read through this entire article and still don’t want to get off the couch, let’s examine it from three new angles.
- Pick one thing
- The positive key
- The negative key
By boiling everything down to just one task, it takes decision fatigue entirely out of the equation. Just come up with one thing you want to achieve today. It doesn’t have to be the best thing. Perfectionism is a trap; just prioritize one thing. It could be one of the tasks from the table above or something entirely new. It doesn’t matter; pick one!
Now that you have one task to focus on forget about everything else. What is the key to making yourself do your one task? Here are some examples:
- Rewarding myself afterward
- Setting it up the night before
- Getting pumped up with some motivation
- Listening to music while I do it
- Asking someone to be your accountability partner
Next, explore the Negative keys, which sap your motivation and keep you lazy and unproductive. You’ll probably know yours, but these are some common ones:
- Being in a distracting environment
- Having your phone on and in the room
- Going to bed late
If you can remove or lessen the power of one negative key and introduce a positive one in its place, completing your one task today will be a breeze.
The Next Steps
If you’ve started breaking your laziness habit and moving toward your goals, you will eventually need to increase your productivity to the next level.
Improve your output and become more efficient by utilizing the best time management tools. Then slowly build a productivity system like Getting Things Done or the Pomodoro Technique and learn how to get more done. Finally, make sure you take the time to recharge, avoid burnout and stop your laziness from coming back.
It’s Down to You
I hope you’ve found at least one of these methods practical and have started to change your lazy ways! Ultimately it comes down to you, there are paths you can take and hacks you can employ, but they only work if you work them.
Remember that although it may seem challenging to break your laziness today, it gets easier, but you need to get the ball rolling.