How to Overcome Laziness

Laziness is the enemy of productivity. If we were lazy, there is no way we could accomplish meaningful things. We may procrastinate doing things, or – even if we do them – we may do them only half-heartedly. There is no way we can produce high-quality results that way.

So we need to overcome laziness. While I can’t say that I’ve been completely successful in overcoming it, I’m happy with my progress. Here are 16 tips I find useful to overcome laziness:

1. Exercise

You could feel lazy if you do not have enough energy to do your activities. Exercising is a good way to increase your energy level so that you feel energized and alert throughout day.

2. Have a good rest

Not having enough rest could also make you lazy. How can you feel enthusiastic if you are sleepy? So make sure that you have good rest.

3. Set a minimum time limit to get started

The most difficult thing is to get started – the rest will be easier. So set a small amount of time, like 15 minutes or even 5 minutes, and decide to work on the task until the time is up. After that, it would be easier to decide to continue.

4. Create a sense of urgency

This is among the most effective ways to defeat laziness. If you have a sense of urgency, it will be much easier to get up and do what you need to do. One way to create a sense of urgency is by setting a deadline. You can read more about it on my article about sense of urgency.

5. Look at the benefits

One reason we become lazy is because we only see the difficulties of the tasks ahead without thinking about the benefits we will get when we finish them. So focus your mind on the benefits instead of the difficulties.

6. Set a reward for yourself

If the benefits are too far in the future, they might not be strong enough to motivate you to act now. In such cases, you can give yourself a more immediate reward. You may allow yourself to eat your favorite meal or watch a movie as your reward for completing the tasks.

7. Think about what will happen if you don’t do it

While thinking about the benefits can motivate you, thinking about the disadvantages if you do not do the tasks can also motivate you. What are the consequences if you do not do what you are supposed to do?

8. Find partners

Partners can motivate you to overcome laziness. While inner motivation is the best, sometimes we also need motivation from the outside.

9. Aim to minimize idle time

Make it your resolution to minimize idle time. Try to be in the state of doing as often as possible. If you have this mindset, it will be easier to overcome laziness.

10. Divide the task into manageable chunks

We could be lazy if we feel overwhelmed by the scale of the task. In such cases, divide the task into manageable chunks, and then tackle them one by one. Remember, the way to eat an elephant is by taking one small bite at a time.

11. Decide what the next physical action is

We may procrastinate because we are not sure what to do next. So look at the task and decide what the next physical action is. Once you know exactly what to do, it will be easier to start.

12. Do one thing at a time

It may seem obvious, but we could be lazy because we try to do more than one thing at a time. That makes us feel overwhelmed. So select just one thing at a time, do it, and ignore the rest.

13. Challenge yourself

Make the tasks fun by turning them into a challenge. Can you accomplish those tasks? Many people can, so why can’t you?

14. Write down your progress

You will be more motivated if you can easily see the effect of laziness. One way to do that is by tracking your progress daily. Put a mark whenever you complete a task. Laziness will give you an empty sheet, and you can easily see how bad it is.

15. Watch other people’s progress

Knowing how far behind you are compared to other people could also motivate you. Watch good performers in your field and let their performance inspire you.

16. Align yourself with what matters to you

While all the tips above can help you, it will be much easier to overcome laziness if you do something that matters to you. You will have the burning fire within that make you want to act. So find a cause that matters to you and align yourself as much as possible with it.

***

Those are the tips I learned. Do you have other tips to overcome laziness? Feel free to share them in the comments.

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60 Comments

  1. Exercise is one of those that I heard a lot, but never listened to. Then one day I just decided I was tired of being out of shape and started walking. And guess what? Exercise did exactly the opposite of what it seems like it would and gave me more energy. I always figured I’d be more tired after exercise because that’s what happened when I was sporadic about it. But now that I’m in a fairly regular routine I get tired when I don’t exercise.

    And I really like #10. Unfortunately I had to learn that one on my own. Breaking down tasks really did help me a lot. Instead of “doing something for project Y tonight” it’s become “write the code for this small task tonight” and I’m much more likely to get the small task done instead of blowing it off.

    But #7 is the most motivating for me. I know what goal I want to reach with a series of projects, and I know what will happen if I don’t reach those goals. The projects are a stepping stone to that goal. It’s pretty easy to get up off the couch when I think of what the option is.

  2. I have two methods to deal with laziness. First, I make sure that I know I am being lazy and I focus on it–a cup of tea, warm bed, good book, a nap. Usually if I indulge the urge, it is gone much sooner than if I fight it. Second, I trick myself with the old ruse of telling myself “You only have to do something for 15 minutes, then you can stop.” Once I get started, I can usually keep going.

    Thanks for all the new ideas. I think I’ll try the suggestions in the post. (After all, a girl can have too much tea.)

    Edythe

  3. Thanks for the great tips! Exerting energy generates more energy. Exercise is so crucial on a daily basis…. Best, Brad

  4. I love your thoughts. I am someone who wants to put everything off until tomnorrow. Is that lazy??

  5. When I feel myself getting of track, I will go into a quiet room and lie on the floor for 10 min and focus on my breathing. It helps to clear and calm my mind. And the deeper breathing physically refreshes me.

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, everyone!

    Ryan,
    Your experiences are good examples of the points in this post. I like them.

    Edythe,
    Good tips. Indulging the urge is especially interesting for me.

    Brad,
    I agree. I do feel the difference in my energy level when I exercise and when I don’t.

    Em,
    In my opinion, it depends on the reason. For instance, if you decide that you need a rest today, that is not lazy. You need the rest to improve your productivity. But if you just want to put everything off without a strong reason, then I would say that’s lazy.

    Rob,
    That’s an interesting tip, especially the “lying on the floor” part.

  7. the key to overcome laziness is by push one self

  8. Hello Donald,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and this is the most useful entry for me so far. I’ve been trapped in this lazy cycle in my effort to complete my thesis, and have been practicing tip #1 and #2. It’s time to test tips #3 – #7. Thank you!

  9. Michael,
    I agree with you. We should have the drive to move forward.

    Voice,
    You’re welcome! I’m glad you find it useful. I wish all the best for your thesis.

  10. Thanks Donald,
    Sometimes I think the hardest point is to find out why we are lazy?
    It is because we’re tired and unhealthy hence diet and exercise is what we need.
    Or is it because we don’t want to do it like bookkeeping or filing etc.
    Or is it because we are scared we might fail. So if we don’t do it we won’t fail.

    I personally have to divide things into very small bits and forgive myself when I don’t get ALL the other stuff finished and tick off my process when I do get it finished. I have a great program that makes it easy for me.

    Leona

  11. Leona,
    That’s a good idea. Yes, knowing the cause is laziness can greatly help us overcome it.

  12. […] Baseado no texto: 16 powerful tips to overcome laziness […]

  13. Those tips are really helpful. Thanks

  14. Thanks for the post! It’s extremely helpful.

  15. j.twilite,
    Glad you like it!

  16. The best tip I’ve ever seen to overcome laziness is to just do it …

    Seriously, just get up and get it done …

    Once it’s done, you can go back to being lazy (until the next time something needs to be done) …

    Take care

    Mr Positioning (Stanley F. Bronstein, Atty, CPA, Author and Professional Speaker)

  17. It was really helpful. Now I want to make it a pracitse to overcome this!!!!!!

  18. Thanks, Sneha! I’m sure you can make it.

  19. thank’s i got my charge back

  20. […] 16 Powerful Tips to Overcome Laziness @ Life Optimizer […]

  21. this is the best tips to overCome laziness. just get up and enpower youRSELF TO REACH THAT GOAL.

  22. hi thanx for the tips i really feel they r gonna be helpful, i wish i’ll share u my own experience after putting them into practise take care

  23. tell me some tips so that i can keep my house neat and clean. I work from 9am to 5 pm, i have a little daughter to take care of and a husband who do nights and always blame me for untidy home. A mother-in-law who just supports his son and complaining about the way i treat my husband and daughter.

  24. sure, what works best for me is when I think about the ugly consequences of not doing a task. that is a good motivator, by the way, thank you for sharing these useful tips.

  25. I like the “do what matters to you” and “create a deadline” ideas. these have helped me, as I have become very lazy as I’ve gotten older. Now that I write from home, I can’t afford to be lazy, so I create deadlines for myself and I write what matters to me. I also only take on what I can handle.

    Also another tip might be to stop and think; what should I be doing right now? Am I being lazy? If the answer comes back “researching that article’ and “yes,” then be proactive–get off the couch and do it! NOW!

    Hope this helps; great article!

  26. Fernando and Emily,
    Those are nice tips you have. Thanks for sharing them!

  27. I’ll fight it at least I know what to do now

  28. wow. thanks, for the reminder, i really have a hard time managing my time. becuase i am too lazy to work especially now that am in college and require lots of work. very helpful tips there.

  29. i read the complete blog, but i am dead lazied, that all those ideas are already things which i know but nothing moves me..i don’t lackany energy, niether i feel sleepy.. but i dont want to do anything.. how to overcome this extremity of lazyness?

  30. fanx for the tips. they seem to be very helpful. hey reyma may b there is something which is extremely disturbing you. this is y u just cant get he mood. hey cheer up dear… forget the worries and think of the future and you will see how wonderful this world is! gud luck 🙂

  31. Thank You Shifa 🙂

    I think I had already overcome the previous situation and have an aim now in mind 🙂
    But, still I have print out of some articles related to overcoming lazyness 😉
    And, I understand that doing exercise changes the entire scenario of a lazy person. But the thing is , it is very difficult for a lazy person to go out and do it regularly !

  32. Very Very Nice Tips by all the Guys!! please keep on posting more like this!! Cheers!

  33. Procrationating is what I always do – i think it is caused by my laziness. But I found now how to struggle with it. I hope your tips will be very useful for us. Now I am setting the time to start my old task 3 mins … 🙂 and tricking myself that I will stop doing it after 15 mins… I am sure I will not stop :).. Gd luck all!

  34. i thought i’m the only person in this world with this problem… hehe

  35. It’s great, and it’s useful for me

    Thank you.

  36. I’m usually not lazy (far from it.) But I’ve had health problems the last few years and am just now getting to where I can do much at all. I’m hoping that the exercise pointer especially as well as the others will help me be back to my go-getter self soon.

  37. Thanks for this. I was getting so frustrated today due to my laziness when I have so much to do, but tomorrow I’m going to try to apply these tips and make the most of my time. Thanks

  38. Thank you very much for giving clear picture of how to get rid of laziness. This is the 1st and the best site to overcome laziness in the google SE top 20 sites

  39. These are the very good tips to overcome laziness. They are very practical and any one can do it. above all not complecated at all i mean very simple for lazy persons. I got motivated by them. thanks a lot.
    thank u very much for analysing the cause and remedy for laziness and helping others.

  40. This are very good tricks, so simple and useful.

    did you ever think about herbs? Such as St. john’s wort, it may helps a little bit against apathy, or use caffeine such as Kofi or much better guarana to get more energy in your body, but avoid this off course for sleeping!

  41. […] Estos consejos los ofrece Donald Latumahina en su blog Life Optimizer. Me parece una guía capaz de terminar con la pereza más recalcitrante. ¿Y a ti qué te parecen? ¿Apuntarías algún truco más? . Comparte esta entradaSubscribeDiggdel.icio.usFacebookStumbleUpon […]

  42. I’m so lazy i couldnt even read them all.

  43. Great tips! I have a problem with my laziness, or rather, staying motivated, and this list is full of stuff that I find inspiring. I can tick a number of these things that I don’t do, so now’s for me to change that. To realise that it’s laziness, a basic human flaw, helps.

  44. thanks great tips!thank u very much

  45. Hello, these tips are all great, but nothing I haven’t heard before. My hardest part is with exersise. I can’t seem to talk myself into getting moving and it’s kind of scary. Once I am out “doing” I am fine but getting their seems impossible!!!

    Help!
    Anything more would be helpful!
    Cheers

  46. thank u.good answer .thank u
    very much.

  47. Thanx a lot

  48. aljilen hernandez
    aljilen hernandez

    ofcourse
    1.faith in yourself that you can do the things you have to do, and
    2.Avoid Mañana habit….
    heheeheh what about this?

  49. Thanks.It helped a lot.

  50. Good stuff!
    All steps look simple & practical.

  51. its simple and easy to implement. tNx a loat.

  52. Your health moses
    Your health moses

    YEAH! DO IT!

  53. Actually, I liked What you’ve said about Laziness and i find it true
    because I think There are peope out there Who think about other things
    other than just TV or Video Games which means they Have dreams they want
    to make them true and they have also a great potential but their
    problem is laziness (the feeling of not wanting to do anything stressful
    or that need some hard work to acomplish ) so they choose to keep doing
    what they do each day which is TV and Video games for example. So i
    think your post is a good guide to these people in order to overcome
    laziness and become productive and achieve their dreams.

  54. It helped me a lot 🙂

  55. I think the tips are inspiring so I’ll apply them and hope for bes5 results thank you

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