You are supposed to submit a well-researched assignment in about a week, the pressure mounts, but, for some reason, your motivation doesn’t even rise to the challenge.
You find yourself languishing, procrastinating, sleeping, and wasting time on social media. Your conscience is out of strategies to guilt you into doing the work and gives up.
Some well-meaning person offers his diagnosis: “you are lazy as a sloth.”
You start to believe it. What other explanation is there for such slothful behavior other than the obvious?
I mean, surely, according to the principle that the simplest explanation is the best one (Occam’s razor), laziness is the most logical explanation for your inability or unwillingness to act.
Convinced of the diagnosis and with a determination to overcome your laziness, you scour the internet for answers.
However, you don’t get any definitive answer to your problem because the internet is a mess of unreliable, unorganized, and irrelevant information that is causing you more paralysis by analysis syndrome than actually providing any meaningful answers.
Luckily, you have found the right article that will put everything into perspective around the problem that we would pedantically entitle as the phenomena of laziness.
Let’s explore laziness. What causes it? Is it a psychological condition? And, in the end, we will show you the 20 ways in which you can overcome your laziness.
What Are the Main Causes of Laziness?
There are many reasons why we experience laziness. To overcome laziness, we must understand that laziness is usually a sign of something else in our life that needs fixing.
For example, poor and high caloric diets are also associated with laziness. By fixing our dietary and lifestyle habits, we might even be able to eliminate laziness.
Diet and lifestyle choices are seemingly unrelated to laziness. However, they do have a considerable impact on how we feel and use energy in our day-to-day lives.
Nevertheless, as I said, there are numerous other causes for laziness.
So to give you a short but comprehensive overview, I will highlight the three leading causes that might be leading to laziness.
1. Lifestyle Choices
This is a big one when it comes to our body’s use of energy resources and the way we feel about ourselves throughout the day.
According to this study, junk food consumption can lead to peaks and troughs of hyperactivity and lethargy.
Lifestyle choices include — but are not limited to — eating habits, diet, sleep (both quantity and quality), exercise, and work-related choices, et cetera.
All these have a massive impact on how our body uses or is limited to use the energy reserves.
A good workout session before a carb-heavy breakfast will prepare you mentally as well as physically to take on the day’s challenges.
But, on the other hand, if you sleep late, wake up late, don’t exercise, and skip breakfast, your energy levels will be depleted, and you will feel less energy.
Consequently, good lifestyle choices lead to less laziness, and bad lifestyle choices induce laziness in a person.
2. Fear of Success/Failure
The fear of either success or failure is effective at limiting one’s motivation.
In order to stop being unmotivated towards taking action, you may want to take a good look at your motivation type, i.e., intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation.
This study shows that people who fear success or failure tend to think of success as a product of external factors and failure as the result of internal limitations.
Asking whether the lack of motivation is the cause of laziness or whether laziness is the cause of a lack of motivation will be like going in circles, chasing one’s tail.
But one thing is for sure, though, laziness is the physical manifestation of a lack of motivation.
Most lazy people are unmotivated, inactive, and have no goals in life.
Lazy people often avoid success much for the same reasons they avoid failure: prolonging their stay in their comfort zones. Success means more responsibility and failure means that you tried but weren’t successful.
So in order to stay in the comfort zone, the lazy person will stay where they are and do nothing.
Laziness and depression are not that different from one another. The unwillingness to exert effort on the task at hand is common to both conditions.
However, that being said, it should be noted that depression is a long-term mental condition that needs proper psychiatric attention and even medications.
Laziness, on the other hand, is understood as a temporary state of inactivity and lethargy, which is acceptable if enjoyed from time to time.
However, if laziness persists for longer, then a lack of motivation might be at play.
Is Laziness a Mental Disorder?
On the surface, both mental disorders like depression or anxiety and laziness seem to be the same.
Laziness is often talked about as a personality trait, but what if it is a mental disorder, or, to a lesser degree, merely a symptom of a mental disorder?
Psychologists believe that laziness is a situational condition that comes and goes. But, on the other hand, mental disorders are not temporary and need proper attention and treatment.
Laziness does, however, indicate the possibility of a mental disorder. For example, depressed people often find it hard to get out of bed.
Laziness, then, may be the symptom of a much larger issue.
A person with depression will stay indoors, lie in bed for most of the day, and find it hard to concentrate or complete tasks. The proverbial lazy person exhibits all behaviors.
This ostensible overlap might lead someone to mislabel depression as laziness.
The distinction is there, but we must be willing to drop our tendencies to label because labeling a genuinely depressed person as lazy might be harmful.
How do You Overcome Laziness?
The most intuitive yet highly unproductive way to stop being lazy is to shame the lazy person by ridiculing them with labels of laziness.
In the book, Laziness does not exist, Devon Price calls it the Laziness Lie.
He further states that by attaching our self-worth to how productive we are, and that we should always be doing something, we are destroying our mental health and that laziness does not exist.
The book is an excellent attempt at fostering mental positivity around overcoming laziness and informs the readers that it is okay and natural to feel lazy sometimes.
20 Simple Ways to Overcome Laziness
That being said, here are 20 ways to overcome laziness.
1. Give yourself a free pass to feel lazy sometimes
Feeling lazy sometimes is only natural, and it isn’t something to worry about at all.
Taking time off work or saying no to friends so that you can stay in bed on a Friday night is nothing to be ashamed of, and you shouldn’t be beating yourself about it.
If it is natural, it will go away, and you will feel more energetic after it.
Motivation is the most important factor in achieving anything in life.
You should be asking yourself if you want to stop being lazy is, whether your motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic.
Intrinsic motivation relies on internal satisfaction rather than outside goals. Therefore, it is better to develop intrinsic motivation if you want to be less lazy.
3. Have practically acquirable goals
Many people make new year’s resolutions but few stick to them throughout the whole year.
Under the influence of their guilt and shame for another wasted year, they make extraordinary resolutions for the next year in high spirits, which are practically impossible to achieve.
Instead, make goals that are achievable soon. This will keep you on track towards your goals.
4. Avoid making judgments
Don’t judge people for being lazy, and most importantly, suspend your value judgments for a while and take life easy.
You deserve to take your mind off things completely to reset your brain. Don’t feed the negativity loop.
5. Instilling a little discipline
Discipline is an overlooked life skill. Discipline is doing what needs to be done on time.
Motivation is a limited resource that gets out of steam in the long haul. Discipline is what keeps you on track even if you lack motivation.
6. Eat right to feel right
To stop feeling lazy, you need to take care of your nutrition. What we eat affects our brain as well as our body.
This is why if you want to stop feeling lazy. You need to avoid all the foods that make you lazy, i.e., high caloric junk foods containing empty calories, providing little to no benefit.
7. Prioritize sleep
If you are feeling lazy, the chances are that you haven’t had a restful night’s sleep. Both the quantity and quality of sleep are essential.
Getting a good 8 hours sleep in the night is commonly advised, but, equally, it is vital to have a deep sleep.
If I had a dime for every time, I saw someone walk into the gym with zero energy and come out beaming with energy.
Exercise early in the morning prepares you to take on the challenges throughout the day.
On the other hand, exercise in the evening or afternoon is way better than a cup of coffee, providing you with natural energy through the release of hormones.
9. Stay hydrated
If you are dehydrated, it can affect your energy levels. Keep a bottle of water by your desk so that you can keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.
10. Build micro-habits
Micro habits are small actions that take a short amount of time and effort to perform. However, if compounded over time, they can lead to drastic transformations.
Suppose, if you took 5 minutes each day just to put a few of the things in their proper places, soon you will have a tidy room.
11. Get the ball rolling
Once you gain a little momentum through micro habits, it’s better to keep the momentum going. It takes approximately 90 days to make a habit stick.
12. Pomodoro focus
Another great way to stop being lazy is to allow yourself intervals of rest and work. The Pomodoro technique does just that with 25 minutes of intense work followed by 5 minutes of rest.
Try the Pomodoro technique and see for yourself.
13. Limit your distractions
This is a big one when it comes to procrastination.
If you want to know the secret to overcome laziness and procrastination, then this should be on the top of your list.
Distractions may include any number of activities, people, or things that are stealing away your time.
Things like mobile phones, social media, Netflix, or going out with friends too often can all be considered distractions.
14. Don’t always try to be perfect
As we had discussed in the causes of laziness, people are too often afraid to get out of their comfort zones. Gary Vaynerchuk says it the best: “Done is better than perfect.”
15. Encourage yourself
Too intimidated by success or failure? Learn to be your own cheerleader. Give yourself words of encouragement.
If you are too overwhelmed with the pressure of being perfect, chances are you will not even take action. It is important in those times to give yourself a pat on the back.
16. Avoid procrastination
Procrastination and laziness might even mean the same thing. Procrastination is putting off tasks till the last minute.
If you feel lazy and unmotivated, you will most likely push your work till later.
17. Stress management
Stress can compound over time if not properly managed. Unmanaged stress can have broader and sinister implications for your health and well-being.
One obvious result of bad stress management is a drop in energy levels, making you more passive and lazy.
18. Avoid working in your PJs
The pandemic has drastically changed the nature of work. With the forced closures of offices and educational institutions, our places of comfort turned into work zones overnight.
Working from the cozy confines of your bed in your PJs does sound enticing, but it is not the best way to work if you don’t want to feel lazy.
19. An accountability partner
Find yourself an accountability partner who can help you with staying on top of your tasks. It helps you perform well if you must account for your time spent.
20. Plan ahead
Having a solid plan to follow can save you in your most vulnerable times when your motivation drops and laziness sets in.
A good plan caters to all the possible contingencies so that when push does come to shove, you can fall back on your plan instead of relying on pure grit or give in to your laziness.
Laziness afflicts all of us at one time or another, and often it is nothing to be worried or ashamed of.
The 20 ways mentioned above can be used to stop feeling lazy and start feeling better about yourself and your life.
Sikandar is opinionated on a diverse set of topics that include, but are not limited to, Productivity, Health, Fitness, Motivation, and Career. He is in love with the written word and writes mainly to help others on their self-actualizing journeys. A journalist by education, getting to the bottom of things is his modus operandi. Often, he finds himself moonlighting as a life coach to his family, friends, and colleagues. He can be reached at his LinkedIn for collaboration.