Without exception, the most successful people in the world are incredibly productive and have a solid work ethic that has enabled them to make great strides towards their vision. They’re intuitively aware that laziness is the nemesis of their productivity.
Athletes like Serena Williams, business magnates such as Elon Musk, and entertainers such as Steve Harvey have been known for meticulously planned schedules which they tackle with efficiency and precision.
Of course, we don’t all have to subject ourselves to intensely demanding schedules and drills. We can dial it down and craft a lifestyle that suits our specific goals and unique sensibilities.
Here are five steps that can help you overcome laziness and build momentum:
1. Get clear on what you want to achieve and why it’s important to you:
Before embarking on any endeavor it’s essential to get laser-focused on what exactly you want to accomplish. Having a clear end goal that creates a fire in your belly will pull you towards it. If you’re frequently caught up in lazy spells, set some time aside to go within and reflect on the person you want to be, and the life you want to live. Your inner compass will show you the way before you make any major decisions.
Here are some questions that you can reflect on:
- Why is it important that I achieve this?
- What are the potential outcomes if I succeed and how would that make me feel?
- What are the consequences of not taking any action?
2. Stop calling yourself lazy and identify the real issue:
If you’ve become accustomed to being seen as the lazy one, it’s time to strip off that label. You need to stop labeling yourself as ‘lazy’ or accepting that reputation from others because the tags that you attach to your identity have a significant impact on your psyche. The way we see ourselves, positive or negative, majorly influences our self-concept and affects the nature of our thoughts and actions.
Negative labels such as ‘lazy’ restrict your potential to grow and are often self-fulfilling. Your words and actions will reflect lazy behavior. If you want to overcome laziness, remove this label and replace it with positive ones such as ‘resourceful, hardworking, and smart’.
While making the transition to changing your habits, take the time to dig deeper and find out the underlying cause of your passive behavior. Unearth the possible psychological reasons that are causing your so-called lazy attitude. You can excavate the issue on your own, with a mental health professional, or a life coach. Remember that laziness is not a personality trait but a habit that can be changed with conscious effort.
3. Prioritize tasks and plan accordingly:
According to the ‘Law of Forced Efficiency’, there is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing. This requires that we prioritize and plan so that we spend time only on the things that matter the most at that particular time, without spreading ourselves too thin. Contrary to what most people think, you don’t need to be ‘switched on and in work mode all the time to overcome laziness.
You can engage in short sprints of real focused work which last for 30-90 minutes. In between, take breaks to relax and rest your mind. This kind of working pattern ensures that you don’t burn out or suffer mental fatigue which could affect your efficiency and productivity.
Another useful pointer is from the book Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy where he says, “if you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first. If you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first.”