This week, I want to discuss the techniques I use to overcome my laziness.
Laziness Symptoms | Are You Suffering from Acute Laziness?
“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work” – Thomas Edison
Laziness or sloth is inaction in the face of duty, purpose, and responsibility. Furthermore, lazy individuals cannot accomplish meaningful goals. Anything worth doing requires effort. For example, if you want to get in shape, then you have to go to the gym, eat well, and get sleep. Each of these activities will challenge you.
However, if you’re too lazy to go to the gym or plan your meals, then you will fail at your goal of getting in shape. Your failure will sap you of your confidence as you become accustomed to your laziness undermining your willpower and personal strength.
What Causes Laziness? How do you Overcome Laziness?
There are plenty of scientific, medical, and psychological reasons for laziness. As an individual, I struggle with procrastination for the following reasons:
- Tiredness – When I haven’t slept as much as I should, I become slower. I give up on tasks too quickly and allow my fatigue to mutate into aimlessness and sloth.
- Burnout – When I fail to regulate my work schedule, I burn out, and laziness quickly follows.
- Distraction – It’s easy to lose time while browsing the internet. Additionally, I pull myself in too many directions. Therefore, becoming distracted can lead to laziness as I put half-hearted efforts into multiple pursuits.
My Six Techniques For Overcoming Laziness and Defeating Procrastination
“Discipline equals freedom.” – Jocko Willink
I’ve met very few people who are proud of their laziness. It is admirable to want to overcome one’s tendencies toward procrastination. Furthermore, when we fail to overcome our inertia, we may become depressed, angry, and externally hostile. I know I’ve been pettier and crueler after wasting hours doing nothing of value.
Therefore, I detail my six best ways of overcoming laziness. These techniques can be utilized to conquer sloth in every aspect of your life, from work to family time.
1. Why are you lazy and unmotivated? You may have poor goals
Do you have goals? A person without clear and achievable goals will find it challenging to overcome laziness. Without a clear road map of your day, you’ll find it much easier to become distracted and waste time.
Furthermore, you want to ensure your goals are realistic. Unrealistic goals will drain you of vitality and focus. When we set impossible goals for ourselves, we will become discouraged, jaded, and lazy.
Never Set Unrealistic Goals
For example, say you have an hour of open time. You could schedule cleaning the house during that hour. However, if cleaning the house will take you an hour, and thirty minutes, instead of an hour, you’ll feel overwhelmed before you’ve begun.
The house-cleaning example may be silly. However, what about a family event that takes too long to end? What if you promised to arrive in a specific area, but there was more traffic than you anticipated?
It’s hard to set goals with meaningful progress and reasonable challenge. Therefore, you have to be realistic about your limitations as well as aspects of life outside of your control.
For example, set meetups time where you take traffic into account, so you aren’t stressed trying to speed to your destination. Set smaller goals, so you don’t become burnt out while attempting to learn as much as possible. Avoid saying yes to every new work project, so you don’t become discouraged and isolated because of your responsibilities.
Stress, burn out, and discouragement lead to laziness. Therefore, set your goals and set them well.
2. Overcome laziness through relaxation
Jocko Willnk makes a great point about taking breaks and resting. Sometimes, we do need to rest. However, if you want to relax, then simply push a little further. If you can move forward, then keep the momentum going. However, if you find that after pushing yourself, you still feel tired, then take a rest.
For example, I write 3,000 – 4,000 words a day. Some days, I don’t want to maintain this exercise. On the days I don’t want to write, I still show up, write the 4,000 (usually garbage) words, and go to sleep. If the next day, I still don’t want to write, I take a break for the day. However, I usually want to write and continue with my daily practice.
Laziness, like hunger, can be a signal your body is sending to take a break, get some meaningful rest, and recharge. The danger becomes over-indulgence and this danger is why you need to have constant conversations with yourself and be as honest as possible.
Schedule time to enjoy life and relax
Too much work will burn you out and leave you feeling bitter. You’ll view yourself as a slave driver and seek self-sabotage. Therefore, schedule time to relax and enjoy life.
Avoid judging your playtime too harshly. I like playing MMORPGs. I play for an hour a day. These games are not the best money or time investment, but whenever I finish that hour, I feel lighter and more inspired.
Additionally, I’ve learned to view quality time with others as beneficial. Time with virtuous friends and family members should be valued and cherished, not seen as a chore.
Lastly, reframe your life and opportunities. For example, are you always stuck in traffic? Listen to a podcast and reframe “traffic time” as “podcast time.” These simple shifts will lighten your mental load and help you relax during stressful events.
3. Toxic People and Ideas will cause laziness and a lack of motivation
“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.” – Oscar Wilde
I cannot stress this enough: avoid garbage media. Media, including films, games, stories, and news reports which do not seek to elevate man are not worth your time. Cynicism is a fool’s game, and trying to engage with such material will sap you of your confidence in yourself and the world.
The 24-hour news, with its incessant focus on the worst of humanity, is a prime example. True, we should be informed of racist ideologies growing in the West. However, there should be an equal focus on reminding people of how millions of citizens of various racial backgrounds regularly interact with each other each day, and everyone benefits. However, the 24-hour news will corrupt your mind into seeing only the evils of the world. This negative view will sap you of your energy while making you lazy, bitter, and paranoid.
Toxic People and Ideas Will Destroy Your Mental Stability
Furthermore, avoid toxic people. People who insult and belittle you have no purpose in your life. Avoid weak individuals who will abuse you to build themselves up. For example, the “friend” who continually insults you for a cheap laugh needs to be confronted or ignored.
Toxic people will hurt you emotionally, physically, and mentally. Minimize or remove your time with them so you can breathe easy.
4. Do everything you don’t want to do first
This simple trick works if you can easily schedule your day. If you’re just arriving to work and have a project you don’t want to do, then start on the project first. Immediately confronting this unwanted project will eliminate the power it has over you. Additionally, your aggression will spur your forward, and once this unwanted project is out of the way, the others will quickly fall. Remember, ignoring unwanted tasks will create stress and anxiety in your mind.
Still not convinced? Then try the “inching” technique. If you have an assignment, promise yourself you’ll simply open the assignment. Once you’ve accomplished this small task, then pick another equally small aspect of your assignment and do that. Rinse and repeat. When you take your unwanted project bit by bit, then you’ll find it easier to gain momentum and move forward.
Therefore, your momentum will quickly vanquish any laziness you may have experienced if you decided to procrastinate.
5. Understand what you’re trying to accomplish by focusing on the end goal, not the grind
“Monday, I grind. Tuesday, I grind. Wednesday, I grind. Thursday, I grind. Friday, I grind. Saturday, I grind. Sunday, I grind. And, that’s why I’m here today.” – Eric Thomas
Laziness can arise from bitterness and distraction. There are multiple responsibilities we have, which we don’t want to do. Our refusal to do these activities creates laziness because we always avoid doing what we don’t want to do.
A few examples: we will “forget” to brush our teeth; we will cut corners at our job instead of working hard; we will let dirt pile up instead of keeping our home clean; etc., etc.
Over the years, I’ve focused not on the task but on the results. If I hate my job, I focus on the money I’m making. If I hate brushing my teeth, I focus on cleaner teeth and more relaxed dentist visits. If I hate cleaning, I focus on how at peace I will feel in a clean home.
Lastly, create solutions for any struggles you are facing. If you hate your job, then learn a new skill and start job hunting. Your active pursuit of new employment will be scary but inspiring. Furthermore, you can practice frugality to decrease your dependency on money.
6. Take better care of yourself | Eat well, Exercise Often, Sleep Consistently
If you are physically lazy, then you will be mentally lazy. Therefore, you have to eat well, exercise frequently, and sleep consistently.
Your mind is housed in your body. Therefore, it is dependent on the nutrients you consume. If you eat junk food, then your brain only has junk to feed on and won’t be equipped to handle difficult and stressful situations. A junk-filled mind will always seek an easy, lazy solution when faced with challenges.
Additionally, being fit makes your body capable and strong. Your mind thrives when your body is attuned to face physical challenges. Additionally, you will be inspired: if you can overcome physical challenges, then you can overcome mental ones. This confidence makes it harder to become lazy and listless.
Lastly, more sleep allows you to replenish your energy. While you can go days without sleep (I’ve learned this as a parent), it is foolish to make missing sleep a habit. Get some rest, so you’re at the top of your game, and your mind is as sharp as possible.
How to Stop Being Lazy and Depressed
Your mind is wired to value sloth. You are designed to be as lazy as possible. Of course, laziness serves a purpose: technically, it is the “lazier” option to run the dishwasher instead of hand-washing the dishes or driving instead of riding a bike. There are multiple ways humans save time by using devices or cutting corners.
Laziness and sloth become problems when we are faced with our responsibilities – chosen or otherwise. You need to do your job, take care of your family, and be virtuous. You cannot and should not cut corners on developing your virtue.
Therefore, try the techniques I’ve provided above. Read additional resources, as well. Overcoming your laziness is not easy. However, you’ll have the ability to manage your life, time, and energy.
As always, I urge you to never give up on yourself. You can become a better, more productive person. Take it slow, remain humble, and always seek to do better today than you did yesterday.
- Of the six items on this list, which is the hardest for you to do? Why?
- What do you believe you could accomplish if you were not as lazy as you are now?
- If you had one hour to accomplish your goals, how much could you accomplish? What would you focus on and why?
- How to Stop Being So Lazy: 10 Simple Habits by Hendrick Edberg
- Why am I so damn lazy? And how do I stop being lazy? by Ramit Sethi
- Idleness Kills Manliness by Art of Manliness
- The 7 Key Mindset Changes for Shifting from Passive Idleness to Active Readiness by Art of Manliness
- The Cure for the Modern Male Malaise: The 5 Switches of Manliness by Art of Manliness
- Break Habits of Procrastination & Laziness by Jocko Willink
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.