How to Overcome Laziness & Beat Procrastination - 7 Practical Tips
We all have phases where we have no motivation to do any sort of work. We feel utterly lazy and keep delaying our important to-do list. But with laziness comes a sense of feeling bad about ourselves. Not only, we miss out the required work to be done, but also our self worth lowers as we do not meet our own expectations. Some of the tips below, help me to overcome Laziness and beat procrastination:
1. Understand Resistance
In the book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield describes a phenomena called Resistance which is the force that prevents us from doing the things that our heart really desires. Laziness can be defined as one of the ways resistance works. When we feel lazy, we have temptation to do every other thing like binging on Netflix movies, gorging on food, lying around doing nothing, gossiping for hours but we don't have any motivation to do the required work for the moment. When we become aware of this resistance, we take steps to overcome it. According to Pressfield, for us to achieve our true potential, it is our duty to recognise & overcome this resistance. He called this War, and in order to win this War , we have to keep showing up and do the Work no matter what! Imagine if Resistance wins, what's the worst case scenario that could occur? If you were feeling lazy to work out, what's the worst that could happen? You may loose fitness, become obese, develop health problems etc. Use this as a motivation to get going for work out!
2. Tap into the "Why?" Power
In order to overcome Laziness, one definite motivation tool is to know your "Why?". This means to know, Why you have to do the work that you are avoiding. This can help you to have the motivation to do it. For example, you have to do exercise but you are feeling lazy to do so. Ask yourself this 5 times - "Why exercise is important to you?
Maybe you want to be in good health and shape
Why? For being physically independent and not to depend on family or Doctors
Why? To maximise experience of Life and enjoy activities which you are passionate about like eating good food, travelling, managing business, create difference in people's life
Why? In order to feel happy & satisfied that you live a good life and impact people in a good way!
Why? In order to feel grateful for the life that you have achieved your full potential.
This is just an example for exercise. The same can be applied for all areas and chances are you will come to know your ultimate Why before the 5th Why. Your ultimate why will help you to feel motivated and inspire you to do the work no matter how lazy you feel!
3. Set a Vision
To help feel even more motivated, you can make your "Why" graphical in the form of a vision board. I have written about vision boards in detail here. So if your goal is to clear a tough exam, and your ultimate "Why" is you wanna clear the exam is because you want to take a job in order to become financially independent, then cut pictures from magazines or find them from the Internet about money and abundance and make a vision board of it. Whenever you feel lazy, just look at the vision board and you will be inspired to work.
4. Take the Simplest Action
Most times we feel lazy or demotivated to do work is because the task in front of us is hard or overwhelming. In this case our brain picks up the easiest route which can be eating, watching a movie or sleeping etc. So, the trick here is to start with the easiest task. If you have a project report to finish, you can start by just opening the word document and giving your project a name. Then you can create an outline of your report. Gradually this will build momentum and you will soon have motivation to finish off the entire report.
5. Set a Time Limit
Another easy technique is to set a time limit and do the work for just that time. For example, you have to fold laundry, and have no motivation to do so, then just set a timer of 15 min and do the work for only that time. This way you will not overwhelm yourself with unrealistic deadlines and finish off some work during the set timeline.
6. Set a Reward
Once you have done the above 5 points, and achieved some of the work after setting a time limit, reward yourself heartily with activities which you would otherwise have done out of laziness. Like watch your favorite Netflix series, eat your favorite food (in moderation), make the long pending call to your friend etc. This gives your brain a dopamine rush which will help you maintain the momentum that you have set for the work!
7. Set the Right Mood
Lastly, setting the right mood can help you gear up for the work and make you look forward to it. For example, clear your desk, brighten up the room by opening curtains, keep the room well ventilated. Wearing cheerful and upbeat dress instead of pyjamas, maintaining a good aroma though incense sticks or scented candles, putting on focus music in the background or a mediation audio. All these can work wonders for your mood and get you started.
We all have lazy moments and it's ok to feel so! Taking a break once in a while is healthy but the important thing is to bounce back from it and keep your Vision & enthusiasm intact. What are the ways you beat laziness? Comment below and share your knowledge!
Book: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield