Albert Einstein was definitely right when he defined insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.’
If you have been feeling stuck when it comes to making progress in your work or life in general, read on for some fresh and genius ways to battle laziness…
Stick around friends and family who have high expectations of you.
One of the most profound people management skill Warren Buffett uses is praise. He often writes letters to his managers detailing positive praises for them. Being one of the most successful people, he has mastered the art of building others up. By praising his managers, he noticed over time that they perform better at their job. Praising people also makes them know that you have high expectations of them which leads them to work even harder to live up to these expectations.
Praise gives you confidence. Can you recall the last time somebody gave you very positive feedback about yourself? How did you feel? Being praised gives us confidence and courage to work harder and pursue bigger dreams.
I have always wanted to learn ice skating. When I finally decided to learn, I asked one of my best friends to teach me because he’s good at it, and he’s also a very good teacher. His way of teaching involves telling you that ‘you can do it, you got this, you’ve made great progress, you’re already doing it.’ These high expectations from him have always led to me doing more, pushing myself more, dedicating more hours to the lessons and also feeling happy and courageous. You should have such people in your life too. People who don’t delight in putting you down but are happier when your candle is shining brighter.
Build relationships with people who inspire you, see the greatness within you and praise you for your positive character and actions. This will help you to beat laziness as you will be motivated to live up to their high expectations. You will also find yourself working harder as these people will make you believe that you are smarter and that you deserve a better and more meaningful life-and yes you do!
A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. – James Keller
Be gentle with yourself.
You will often read and listen to a lot of motivational content that condemns your current life situation. Sometimes this content does more harm than good because you often end up feeling worthless, helpless and even demotivated to take action to change your situation. Yes, you are responsible for your life but you’re human. When you’re on the journey to change an aspect of your life such as your financial habits, be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Don’t give yourself negative messages.
When it comes to beating laziness, a lot of people start working on it through building productive habits. Since it takes time to master these habits, if you skip a day or two of working on these habits, you end up beating yourself down and telling yourself negative stuff. That’s not how life works. We all fail and fall short of our goals. When that happens, pick up from where you left and keep going. Remind yourself that you’re awesome for starting the journey in the first place. Consistently start over again and be kind to you!
Be softer with you. You are a breathing thing. A memory to someone. A home to life. – Nayyirah Waheed.
Take time to learn when you’re most productive.
A lot of books will recommend waking up at 5 am every day as a way to beat laziness. A lot of studies, however, show that not everybody is productive in the early morning hours. According to Russell Foster, who is a neuroscientist, there’s no research that shows that waking up 5 am makes us more productive. Just in case you doubt this, remember that sleep has been quoted as one of the highest contributors to happiness.
Everybody has a biological clock that influences when we’re most productive. Some people are more productive late in the night. Instead of beating yourself down for not waking up at 5 am, find out when you’re most productive and work during those hours.
I don’t work in the morning. I wake up at 7 am because that’s when my internal clock is set. My main motivation for waking is doing fun stuff which gives me a lot of positivity throughout the day. In the morning, I drink water, do a 30 mins run, prepare a perfect breakfast, read a chapter in a book and prepare to go to work. I absolutely enjoy all these activities.
Being a ‘night owl’ means I am very productive at night. I actually work on my most important projects at night and sleep past midnight. If you are like me, be proud of your individuality. You don’t have to follow what everyone else is doing. The goal is to keep working on your dreams by finding the most suitable way for you!
Sleep is God. Go worship. – Jim Butcher.
Declutter your email.
Having clutter in your space makes you feel stressed. Your mind feels clogged. To make you feel more motivated to work, declutter your email. Take some time every week to archive or delete or the emails that you no longer need. Such emails include;
- Emails that you have already responded to and therefore concluded the conversation.
- Email with tasks that you have already accomplished.
- Emails that you have been cc’d but have nothing to do with your department.
- Promotional emails.
- Emails you don’t plan on working on or responding to.
Also, unsubscribe from all promotional emails that act as a distraction to your workday.
Having an inbox with 10 or fewer emails makes you feel at peace. It also motivates you to work on the pending stuff so that you can archive the emails and move on. This is a perfect way to beat laziness at work and also to measure your productivity progress.
Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fuelled by procrastination. – Christina Scalise
Have a to-do list – but make it short.
A long and random to-do list makes you feel overwhelmed. When you feel overwhelmed, you end up procrastinating on all the tasks. You feel like it’s impossible to accomplish anything or that doing just one thing won’t make a difference. Some other people end up doing the not-so-important tasks and leave the ones that should be prioritized.
A solution for this is to have only 2-3 high priority things on your to-do lists every day. Before you sleep, have a list of things that you should accomplish. From that, pick on 2-3 that you know are a priority. Work on those the following day. This habit will eventually make you feel more motivated to work on even more tasks with time since you will be happy with your productivity. With time, you will realize that you are less lazy.
The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities. – Stephen Covey
Enroll in an activity that requires discipline.
I recently enrolled in a Karate class at The Japanese Embassy. My main reason was to complement my fitness routine which mainly involved morning/evening runs. Karate has a lot of rules. You have to start and end the routine in a particular manner, bow before you go in or out of the room, obey the instructor, and most important, show up on time. It’s also very physically intense.
Having such external rules and committing yourself to obey them enables you to acquire discipline. Without discipline, there’s very little you can achieve. If you continuously take up such a class, you’ll realize with time that you are more energetic which helps you work on your other tasks. The discipline also trickles down to other aspects of your life. Also, these external rules play the same role as an accountability partner would-ensuring that you get things done. Rules act as a helping hand in our journey of acquiring productive habits. Try enrolling in martial arts such as karate, a sporting event, yoga or dance class and enjoy the transformation.
You either suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret. Pick a side. – Anonymous
Work next to a productive person.
Is there a super productive person in your office or school that you admire for how much stuff they accomplish in a day? Make them your friend and work next to them. You know that rule about how you are an average of the five people you spend your time with? It applies here too. If you struggle with laziness and procrastination, work next to a super productive person. You’ll get a lot more done as you’ll tend to copy this person’s work habits with time. You’ll also learn a great deal of work ethics, which is something that’s handy in a competitive work environment.
A worker without genius is better than a genius who won’t work. – Leopold Clue
Have loads of calendar reminders.
Free your mind of worry! Instead of being anxious about what you’re meant to do tomorrow, next week or even later in the day when you’re supposed to be working, use calendar reminders. A lot of people use calendar reminders just for the big stuff such as a meeting with your boss or end of year reviews which makes it easy to forget other stuff. Schedule everything. Both the big and small stuff! When you schedule something, it means it’s important to you which makes the battle half won. Also, accomplishing just one of your reminders makes you excited to move on to the next activity.
Having activities that are repetitive on your calendar will also act as a reminder to you of what is important in your life, which is what you should be paying attention to. I have a reminder to write an article every Monday which communicates to my subconscious mind that writing is my most important life goal; lest I get distracted by other activities!
Do not be fooled by the calendar. There are many days in a year as you make use of. – Charles Richards
Have an accountability partner.
Really, you don’t have to battle through adulthood alone! Get one of your workmates or friends to regularly check in on your progress. This is especially useful for tasks that you absolutely hate doing. It works better if you pick a friend who’s extremely productive since this will also act as an inspiration. Also, pick someone you wouldn’t want to disappoint as this acts as an even bigger motivation to get the job done and beat laziness!
If you hang out with chickens, you’re going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles, you’re going to fly. – Dr Steve Maraboli
Get a passion partner.
Want to save $1000 dollars by the end of the year? Write a book? Or you want to start an exercise routine? Get a buddy that shares the same goal. This buddy will also the struggles with you and make the journey fun and interesting.
Have a system to check in on your progress from time to time. While at it, don’t forget to remind each other why you started and what could happen if you accomplished your goals.
Accountability breeds response-ability. – Stephen Covey.
Establish a system to make it easier for you to accomplish your goals in a faster and fun way. Use any of the above tips and tell us in the comment section about which works best!