Being highly productive isn't a natural talent for everyone. Some of us have a naturally strong work ethic, while others really like our sitting-around time. But we always seem to find time for the things we want to do.
Laziness, on the other hand, appears for very specific reasons. Maybe we don't know how to do the task, maybe we feel overwhelmed by everything we do have to do. Maybe we are just plain scared and our mindset needs adjustment.
Whatever the cause, if laziness is interfering with your productivity, if it's making you unresponsive to your responsibilities, if it's costing you your success, you must learn to overcome it.
Here are 12 easy ways to get on top of your laziness so you can begin to be more productive.
1. Make sure you're not overwhelmed. Sometimes we freeze up when we're overwhelmed by everything we have to do--we freeze up and don't do anything at all. Do you have realistic expectations on how much you are truly able to accomplish? If you have too much on your plate and no idea how you're going to get it all done, it may be that you're not lazy but overwhelmed.
2. Check your motivation. Similarly, if you're not motivated it is very easy to slip into what looks like laziness. To be productive we need to be motivated. If it's hard for you to stay connected to what motivates you, make up a list that you can consult when you need an extra push.
3. Look at your surroundings. Your environment and the people around you matter. Are you in a space that makes it easy to stay organized and productive? Do the people around you spend more time complaining than following their passions? If you surround yourself with people who love what they do, and are creative and motivated, their enthusiasm will rub off on you. Make sure too that your space gives you everything you need to work well.
4. Value your time. Make the most of the time you do spend working. Look at your to-do list and prioritize--you can do it in your head, on paper, or on a computer or phone-based planner. Just knowing where you are makes it harder for deadlines to sneak up on you and easier to work productively, even if it's in short bursts.
5. Reframe your thinking. If you're in a mindset where work is bad and play is good--something many of us have let over from school days--then any kind of work that needs to get done feels like punishment. Remember the things that are positive about work, such as the higher purpose of your organization or just the feeling of having accomplished something significant.
6. The source of value. It's easy to become lazy if you don't see the value in what you have to do. Try this: when you make a to-do list, include the benefits of each task. When you focus on benefits and goals, productivity becomes much more rewarding. Learn the value of each task and then work to achieve it.
7. Make new habits. If you typically put off the most complex or difficult assignments for last, switch it up and begin doing those tasks first. Pick one or two things to focus on and fully devote yourself to those tasks. You don't want to spread yourself too thin. Remember you have to work to reach your goal; it's not going to happen right away.
8. Measure the changes. Keeping new habits in place is notoriously difficult. One effective technique to making changes to your productivity stick to is to track your results. If you can see that holding yourself accountable is helping you meet your goals, it will be easier to maintain.
9. Share your goals. If you're working toward a promotion or a new job, or gearing up to run a marathon or play at an open mic night, tell people about it! Knowing they'll be asking how things are going will keep you making progress.
10. Schedule work and break times. You need to take an occasional break, but make sure that time is limited so you don't lose momentum. For example, you could commit to working for the first 45 minutes of every hour and then take a 15-minute break. Use the timer in your phone to keep track.
11. Look for alternatives. Think of ways you can work more effectively. Is there a better way? Can you delegate or automate a task? The more you streamline, automate, delegate, and outsource, the more you can get with the same level of effort.
12. Remember, nothing changes until you do. You can have all the foolproof tips and tricks in the world, but ultimately nothing changes until you do. If your current work style is meeting your needs, you won't see a reason to change. But if you're frustrated by your lack of motivation or fear that it's holding you back, then you need to change from within. Because the truth is nothing will change until you do.
There's no simple cure for being lazy. The only way to overcome it is by setting your mind to the task and getting up and completing it. Start right now to develop the self-discipline you need to reach your goals.