Laziness may be one of the hardest habits to kick. It’s easy to fall into a routine that is comfortably unproductive rather than putting in the hard work that is required to develop a motivating lifestyle. However, devoting yourself to productivity and throwing unproductive habits to the wind isn’t nearly as difficult to accomplish as you may think. Once you begin to squash behaviors that feed into unproductivity, you can begin to live a more rewarding, enriching life. These are five effective ways to curb habits that feed into chronic laziness.
1. Just do it
We’ll start with the simplest means of kicking laziness: Just do it. Whatever tasks that you’re putting off, completing them as they come to mind can help you stop pushing these productive practices away. The same goes for healthy behaviors that you’re feeling unmotivated to practice. When you let tasks slide into the back of your brain instead of addressing them as they emerge, you’re less likely to find the willpower to complete them at a later time. Why is it so difficult to save productive tasks for later? One unproductive decision leads to another, until your laziness begins to snowball. All of your responsibilities will begin to pile up in your subconscious until you feel too overwhelmed and anxious to complete any of them. If you deal with these tasks as they pop into your head, you can avoid the mental crash that leads to wanting to give up on completing any of your responsibilities. Essentially, the best way to combat chronic laziness is to do the exact opposite of what you actually want to do. While it may be difficult at first, completing your responsibilities chunk-by-chunk will save your grief in the future and help you implement healthier, more productive daily habits.
2. Create the classic ‘to-do’ list
A to-do list may seem like a fairly obvious way to kick lazy behavior, yet, when used properly, it is also highly effective. What makes a thoughtful to-do list so useful? Tailoring a to-do list to your individual needs, wants, and goals can help you not only find the motivation to do something, but to set and achieve milestones that are meaningful to you. Better yet, when you create to-do lists daily and repeat similar goals, you can establish healthy habits that you’ve previously struggled to implement. To-do lists are chances to not only temporary combat laziness but to maintain and establish long-term, productive practices of healthy behavior. If you tend to be reward-driven, providing yourself a prize for finishing your list can help urge you to complete such tasks more often. It may be something as simple as an extra ten-minute break in the day or, if you’ve rocked your lists for the whole week, a Friday night out with friends. Either way, to-do lists that are catered to your desires and needs can be a highly motivational way to curb laziness and embrace a productive lifestyle.
3. Locate your ‘hot spots’ for productivity
While we’d all like to believe that we can be productive anywhere, this often isn’t the case. It may sound ideal to complete an important work task while curled up on the couch or respond to professional emails in bed, yet these environments can inhibit our ability to complete important tasks with haste and success. Finding locations that charge your brain and force you to maintain total focus on the tasks at hand are optimal to help you complete these goals both in a timely and thoughtful manner. In unproductive environments, we can sometimes fully complete a task, yet we often put out half-baked work where the lack of motivation is evident in the end result. If you attend to your work in settings that facilitate a healthy amount of focus, you’ll be able to complete quality work in a quicker manner than you would in a non-motivational setting. Whether it’s a coffee shop, library, community center, bakery, or bar, understanding the places where you are able to maintain the most focus is essential to becoming less lazy/easily distracted and more productive.
4. Find some accountability buddies
Kicking lazy habits are difficult to do on your own, especially when the only person holding you accountable is yourself. Additionally, if you spend your time surrounded by people who are lazy, you’re more likely to excuse negative, unproductive habits as natural. In order to inject more motivation into your life, connecting with people to hold you accountable for your productivity, as well as people who are generally well-motivated, is essential. Sometimes, you can form bonds with other people in your life who struggle with laziness yet are eager to become more productive. You can promise to stick to practicing similar behaviors and check-in with one another to ensure you’ve reached your goals. You may even be able to practice a handful of productive behaviors together, like going to the gym or constructing healthy meal plans with one another. Other times, those around you may remain firmly unmotivated as you attempt to become more productive. You may have to seek out a new crowd of people to inspire and encourage you to remain on a productive path. Whether this means joining a gym group, a writing club, or a cooking class, you’re not the only person in the world trying to kick laziness, become more productive, and reach your full potential. Unfortunately, there may be times when you aren’t able to find anyone to hold you accountable for your productivity, and you’ll have to work extra hard to stick to your new and improved lifestyle. It can be difficult, but, with an established schedule, a hearty to-do list, and/or a journal, it’s not impossible.
5. Keep a journal
This leads us to hack number five: journaling. How does keeping a daily diary help you be more productive? Taking the time to reflect on the course of your day can have a significant impact on how you approach each one that follows. As you journal, you may realize that there are certain tasks that you wished you would have completed, allowing you to set the intention of achieving those goals in the future. Journaling may also open your eyes to negative or unproductive behaviors that you typically allow to fly under your radar. If you spent hours lying on the couch and binging Netflix when there were other responsibilities to be attended to, forcing yourself to reflect on the impact of those wasted hours will encourage you not to repeat those same behaviors twice. This isn’t to say that a journal should be a center of shame and guilt; instead, it should be a safe place to recognize unproductive behaviors that you’re feeding into throughout your typical day that could be replaced with more positive behaviors the next one. Still, journaling isn’t only a means of reflecting on how you could’ve done better. It’s also a time to look back at the positive behaviors you practiced during the day that gave you a boost of motivation or euphoria, allowing you to establish and repeat those behaviors in the future. It may be meditation, exercise, spending time with your family, or another uplifting or motivational experience. One final benefit of journaling is that it doesn’t just allow you to look at your behaviors; it also gives you a chance to reflect on the problems that are feeding into your chronic laziness. Through journaling, you may discover that you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, hopeless, or other challenges with your mental health. A journal can help you reflect on those problems and begin to consolidate and treat issues that are preventing you from achieving your full potential.