If you’re trying to improve your life, you may find yourself frustrated by your own laziness and lack of motivation. Although you want to do things, you may struggle to get started.
After all, it’s easier to watch Netflix than it is to do just about anything else. Below are a few tips to help you stop being lazy and unmotivated.
How to Stop Being Lazy and Unmotivated
1. Know the difference between being lazy and needing rest.
There is a big difference between being lazy and needing rest. Your body needs regular rest. For your mental well-being, you need to do restful activities.
While you technically could work eighty hours a week, you aren’t lazy for needing rest after working. We have a tendency to ignore the signals our body gives us that indicate that we need rest.
Instead of taking time to nap or sleep, we grab more caffeine and try to push through our work. However, your body will struggle over time if you’re habitually getting less rest than you need.
This includes taking time to rest when you have medical problems arise. Even with a common cold, rest is usually the first prescribed step. If you are sleeping for sixteen hours a day while you’re sick, that isn’t the same thing as being lazy.
Take some time to figure out if you’re actually being lazy or if you just need rest.
“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.”
– Alan Cohen
2. Determine why you’re feeling lazy and unmotivated.
Figure out why you’re feeling lazy and unmotivated, and make changes to overcome your unproductivity.
Some things are easy to fix. For example, you might notice that you’re feeling unproductive at a certain part of the day. Many people struggle to concentrate or be productive during afternoons.
To fix this, complete your hardest tasks in the morning and let yourself do easier tasks in the afternoon when you’re tired. Other things aren’t as easy to fix.
For example, you might struggle to focus because your work environment is too distracting. You may not be able to change environments, but you can make small changes to help you focus (like removing distractions or getting noise-canceling headphones to block out background noise).
“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work”
– Thomas A. Edison
3. Make sure you’re setting reasonable expectations for yourself.
If you’re feeling lazy and unproductive, it may be because you’re setting unreasonable expectations for yourself. If your goals don’t seem attainable, it’s easy to lose motivation and end up doing less.
It may not be reasonable to believe that you’ll spend ten hours working on a physically strenuous project, for example. When deciding how much time you’ll spend working on your project, determine what is actually a reasonable goal.
In this case, you might decide to work on it for an hour a day for ten days instead of trying to do it all at once. If you’re not setting reasonable expectations for yourself, you won’t really be able to tell whether you’re lazy or whether you’re just overwhelmed.
When you set reasonable goals for yourself, it’s easier to get started and easier to tell whether you’ve had a productive day or not.
“If you want a place in the sun, you’ve got to put up with a few blisters.”
– Abigail Van Buren
4. Pick a small task and do it.
Sometimes starting your to-do list is the hardest part. If you’re feeling lazy or unmotivated, pick an easy task from your to-do list and get it done.
When you finish the task, even if it only took you ten minutes, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment that will help motivate you to complete bigger tasks.
This is why a lot of people suggest making your bed in the morning. It’s a small task that doesn’t take much effort to do. But once it’s done, you’re able to check one item off of your daily to-do list, preparing you for a day of getting things done.
“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”
– Vincent Van Gogh
5. Do the hardest tasks first.
This might seem contrary to the previous point, but there are days when it helps to do your hardest tasks first. If a particular task is filling you with dread, it’s better to get that task done.
If you do the hardest task of your day first, then everything else that you do will be easier. The hardest task may not be the one that takes the longest, either.
If you’re dreading making a phone call or frustrated with a tedious project, doing those things first can help the rest of your day go smoothly.
“Be brave, Tris,” he whispers. “The first time is always the hardest.” His eyes are the last thing I see.”
– Veronica Roth
6. Use the Pomodoro method.
The Pomodoro method is a productivity technique that involves working for 25-minute bursts, followed by 5-minute breaks. After four work sessions, you are able to have a 15-minute break.
The Pomodoro method can be especially helpful if you’re struggling to get started on a project. If a project seems too big or too overwhelming, the Pomodoro method helps you to just get started.
When you start your timer, you know that in 25 minutes you’ll have a break, taking away the sense that your task is endless or unmanageable.
7. Fight the need to do everything perfectly.
The desire to do everything perfectly can prevent you from being productive. For some tasks, what matters is getting them completed. While you don’t want to do your job sloppily, there are times when you just need to get something done on time.
A lot of adults who were labeled as “gifted” when they were children struggle to start or complete tasks because of the feeling that they need to do everything perfectly.
If they’re used to being good at everything, they may struggle to do things they aren’t immediately good at. Your work and the things on your to-do list are worth doing, even if you aren’t doing them perfectly.
“No one and nothing is perfect, or we wouldn’t have uniqueness.”
– Jasmin Morin
8. Find someone to hold you accountable.
Sometimes you need help to keep you motivated. Find a friend, a partner, or a coworker who can hold you accountable for getting things done. This person can check in with you to see if you’re getting things done in a timely manner.
It’s even better if this person has similar goals as you. If they’re also working on improving their productivity, they can help you by sharing tricks they’ve learned. Not only will they hold you accountable to your own goals, but you can help motivate each other.
Make sure that the person you choose is someone who will follow through in holding you accountable and whose input you welcome. If the person is unhelpful, overly critical, or absent, you should find another person to help keep you accountable.
9. Download a productivity-related app.
There are a lot of apps out there that can help you manage your to-do lists and increase your productivity. Some apps are timers that help you use the Pomodoro method (see tip #6 above). Others manage your to-do lists and send you reminders to keep you on track.
Some apps help you gamify your tasks, which is a fun way to manage boring, tedious, or repetitive tasks. These apps have you input your to-do list and give you in-game rewards when you complete tasks.
This can be a fun, rewarding, and inexpensive way to keep you motivated.
When you’re looking into productivity apps, it’s important to make sure that productivity apps aren’t getting in the way of actual productivity. It’s easy to spend hours putting your tasks into a to-do list app.
However, it doesn’t benefit you if you don’t move beyond the app to actually completing the tasks. This can be especially problematic if you frequently jump between productivity apps.
10. Set rewards for yourself.
Plan to reward yourself for your productivity. You can make your reward be anything you want, as long as it will motivate you. What matters is that you only give yourself that reward once you’ve completed the task.
You can reward yourself with your favorite meal, a small purchase at the store, extra downtime, or anything else that you’ll enjoy. When you’re feeling lazy or unmotivated, remind yourself about the reward you’ll get when the task is done.
Sometimes having guilt-free time to relax is the best reward. When you know you’ve really worked hard, you can better enjoy the downtime that you have. No matter what you do during your downtime, it’s almost always made better when you’ve worked hard to earn it.
“Every project has challenges, and every project has its rewards.”
– Stephen Schwartz
It’s hard to get motivated to do things when you’re feeling lazy. Even easy tasks may seem impossible if you’re especially unmotivated. Try one or two of the tips above to help you get your momentum going.
The hardest part is getting started. Once you get into the habit of getting things done and completing tasks, it gets easier. Habits are a powerful driving force in your life. Over time, you can turn getting things done into a good habit.