At one point or another, most of us struggle with being lazy and procrastinating. Are you going through this and need ideas for what you can do right this minute to fix the problem? Kick things into high gear with my top 3 tips for how to combat laziness and procrastination.
These ideas are taken from some of my top posts on how to stop being lazy. They are the basic and effective tips I turn to over and over again when I need to pull myself together and push through to actually get things done.
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What is the Difference Between Laziness and Procrastination?
First things first, procrastination and laziness are not quite the same thing — even though they may feel similar. The terms are often used interchangeably, which is why I am lumping them together for this post.
The key difference between procrastination and laziness is that procrastination tends to involve making an active decision to do something other than the necessary task that needs to be accomplished.
For example, if you decide to clean your entire house instead of sitting down at the computer to finish a blog post or presentation for work, you are procrastinating. It may be productive — and you may enjoy the results of the clean house — but it’s not what NEEDS to be done.
On the other hand, laziness is the general avoidance of making any decisions or doing any activity at all. It may not even be conscious, it just… happens.
A lazy person is generally thought of as someone who doesn’t care about completing tasks and therefore just doesn’t think about doing them at all — or worse, simply refuses to do anything. This isn’t necessarily true, but it’s definitely a negative perception, and we don’t want to be known as a lazy procrastinator or have people feel like they can’t count on us.
What Causes Laziness and Procrastination?
I truly believe the main causes of these issues are overwhelm and overthinking.
If you struggle with procrastination, you may have a fear of failure and a need to be perfect. Subconsciously, your brain tricks you into procrastinating on projects so long that you have to rush to complete them. Therefore, you have an excuse for imperfect results because you ‘didn’t have time.’
Here’s the thing… It’s about 99% likely that nothing you will ever do HAS to be perfect. Unless you’re a surgeon or something like that, but then we’re talking about an entirely different realm than getting regular things done. 😉
The causes of laziness can be very similar to those of procrastinators. Both tend to have a fear of failing… or sometimes a fear of success. Either of those fears can be overwhelming and paralyzing.
Another cause of laziness is when we start to question why we’re doing the same things day after day. We don’t know our ‘why’ and everything can begin to feel pointless.
Sometimes doing nothing and retreating from everything feels like the only way we can cope when there is just too much going on or too much on our list.
There are also medically involved causes of procrastination and laziness — such as ADHD, depression, low self-esteem, etc. Depression leads to a feeling of hopelessness — and when we feel hopeless, it can be hard to find the motivation and reasons why we should do… anything, really.
If your battle feels particularly difficult, reaching out for guidance from a mental health professional could do wonders for you on your journey.
How Do I Stop Being Lazy and Procrastinating?
You need some quick-start tips and tricks to set you down the right path toward getting the upper hand in your battle against laziness and procrastination.
This is more than just ‘setting your mind to it.’ To be fair, that is part of the process, but there are also ACTIONS you need to take. Here are my favorites:
1. Strip the List
Okay, I know some things HAVE to be done every day. But how many things are you trying to squeeze in? A project here, another there, and those other five awesome ideas that popped into your head during the day? Of course, none of them got finished, so now your list for tomorrow is infinitely longer.
Get away from thinking you have to work on all.the.things. every day. If you’re easily overwhelmed, just having all of those different tasks on your list may stop you from beginning anything at all.
Instead, focus HARD on just ONE thing. At first, this may feel like you’re procrastinating about doing all the other stuff. But you’re not, and here’s why…
Having one focus means you will get that one thing done faster — ESPECIALLY if you internalize the ‘done is better than perfect’ concept. (Actually, don’t internalize… make a big and beautiful quote image and put it everywhere. Make it your mantra. Say it with me… ‘Done is better than perfect.’)
The important — and difficult — thing is to determine which project needs to be done first, and then go all-out on getting that thing done. You may even spend three days or a week working on just that thing. But then your mind will be clear to tackle all the other stuff on your list.
This is my best tip, yet it’s also one of my personal struggles. I know that I have to work this way, but I still find myself trying to time-block tasks for several different projects into each day.
Then I look at that perfectly-workable and logical daily plan and freeze. I can’t even begin the first thing on the list because my brain is already trying to split its focus and recall the details of each project while I feel intense guilt over not working on everything at.the.same.time. *sigh*
It’s perfectly okay to NOT do all.the.things. Learn to put only the ONE most important thing on your list, and the rest will follow.
2. Stay Off the Couch
Eliminate the habit of collapsing on the couch ‘for a few minutes’ after work every day. Doing that sends a signal to your brain that you’re not going to actually DO anything for the rest of the day.
We all know how hard it is to get back up off that comfy spot, right?
Don’t put yourself in the situation to fight one. more. thing. that could derail you from completing your necessary tasks.
We all have valid reasons why those ‘few minutes’ on the couch are what we ‘need.’ But when it’s an everyday thing that leads to hours of sitting while nothing else is getting done, all we’re really doing is building lazy habits.
Instead, keep moving to complete simple and intentional tasks. Create automatic habits and routines that prevent the excuses.
3. Use the Tech
First, ALWAYS use a timer.
This serves two purposes:
- It keeps you on task because you know that timer will be going off.
- It helps you realize just how long tasks REALLY take you to complete. It’s probably MUCH longer than you estimate.
Second, use technology to eliminate distractions. Apps like ColdTurkey, Freedom, or the StayFocusd Chrome extension can help by automatically blocking the websites you designate during the times you choose.
If certain apps are your downfall, be sure to use a blocking app that works across all of your devices so you don’t ‘cheat’ by getting on your phone when you’re supposed to be working on your laptop.
Third, use tech to track your progress toward your goals. For example, if your struggle is consistent exercise, a tech product like this pretty FitBit Versa 3 could be exactly what it takes to keep you motivated.
Resources to Fight Laziness and Procrastination
So, Can I Combat Procrastination and Laziness?
You’re not a bad person if you struggle with laziness or procrastination. These traits and habits do not HAVE to define you, and deciding to learn how to stop being lazy and procrastinating is never a bad idea.
You can change these things about yourself as you work to Build Your Best Life!
It’s not going to be an easy task, but wanting — and trying — to change for the better already puts you several steps ahead of many other people out there.
You’ve got this!
Don’t forget to grab your Anti-Laziness worksheet set…
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