- Darshana Ananth
4 Ways To Stop Being Lazy & Actually Get Stuff Done
Updated: Dec 5, 2022
You’re on your couch with your phone, scrolling through social media with a bag of chips. The pile of clothes that you meant to fold three days ago lies ignored on your chair. Every time you look at it, you say to yourself that you’ll do it today, and then today passes and the vicious cycle continues. Sounds a bit too familiar?
At this very moment of me writing this post on how to overcome laziness, I paused and went on my phone because my brain was too lazy to come up with relatable lazy behaviour. I know, quite the irony. Be it laying on your couch for hours or finding creative ways to turn off the light without moving from your bed, we’ve all had our lazy moments.
I have been quite the lazy person all my life and have made peace with it. All of us have our lazy days when we just want to relax and do nothing, and this is completely normal. Our brains are hard-wired to conserve energy and keep things minimal. This is why we gravitate towards low-energy tasks like watching TV, gaming, snacking, and scrolling on our phones, rather than stuff like cleaning our room, putting away laundry, or learning something new, that comparatively requires high energy.
Now, there are a number of reasons why we lean towards laziness, some of them being very simple and straightforward, and yet we’re blindsided by them. You might think that there’s really no specific reason for you being lazy, just that it’s boring or you don’t feel like doing it right now. Actually, that is a fair reason, but when you dig a bit deeper, it isn’t just about your surface-level feelings.
Here are some reasons why laziness has become a part of our lifestyle.
Lack of motivation & discipline: When you lack that spark or push to do something, you’d rather procrastinate and stare at the wall.
Not finding joy in tasks: When you don’t find enough meaning in the work that you’re doing, you tend it put it off and engage in trivial stuff like daydreaming about your next vacation.
Fear of failure: The fear of not doing good enough or the attitude of a perfectionist stops you from taking that first step. You’d rather wait for a new month to start a new habit (coz new month, new me, amirite?)
Craving instant gratification: When you have plenty of distractions around you that give you an instant dose of dopamine, you’d rather have that than work hard for something. Like instant ramen, we need instant in everything.
Poor time management: Not having proper control over your activities or tasks in a day leads to frustration, and thus you procrastinate. Like that one time, you accidentally took a 6-hour nap instead of 1.
Movement Precedes Motivation
Motivation is that positive feeling that drives us to want to do something or make a change for the better. While relying on motivation is natural, it isn’t really sustainable in the long run. Since it is an emotional feeling, it is vulnerable and definitely not the magic potion that can change our lives.
On the other hand, movement or momentum is the actionable part of anything that sets the tone of events. So next time don’t just wait for motivation to strike. Start with one small thing and build momentum. And to your surprise, you’d be on a roll doing things you never thought you’d do.
It’s like when you start cleaning your house, and eventually notice you have a messy closet, so you organize your clothes, and then end up doing laundry and the productivity mania continues. All it takes is that first small move to get things going.
The 5-Minute Rule
It’s easy for us to get overwhelmed by all the things on our to-do list that have deadlines or just need to get done. We can approach this by following the 5-minute rule which is as simple as its name goes. It is a way to better regulate your emotional responses in relation to your tasks.
So the 5-minute rule states that you force yourself to work on a task for just 5 minutes and choose to quit or stop after the five minutes is done. This tricks our brain into thinking that doing something for 5 minutes is no big deal. Eventually, when the time is up, you might still end up continuing your work, which solves your problem of getting started.
Gamify Your Tasks
Life Gamification is a way to bring more fun into your mundane life chores by making them enjoyable with elements like rewards and friendly competition. This is a way to boost motivation and make tasks more engaging.
For instance, you can track your habits on a calendar or a habit tracker app where you can visually see your progress. Tracking apps have features like streaks and achievement badges that keep things engaging and fun.
Next time when you’re doing the dishes or taking a course, attach a reward to it when you complete them, like ‘when I’m done with this task, I’ll reward myself with an episode of my fav show.’ Keeping things creative and fun makes your dull chores a little less daunting.
Setting Time Limits for Social Media
Social media has reduced our attention spans drastically to alarmingly low levels. Short-form video content has made scrolling an addictive wormhole. Going on our phones is convenient when we feel lazy because it provides instant gratification. A study reports that on average, a person spends almost 6 hours 53 minutes per day on the internet.
Our smartphones are easily one of those gadgets that keep us glued while satisfying our dopamine cravings. We lose track of time on social apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter due to their infinity scroll feature. Hence, it is important to set timers or alarms to keep your usage under control.
We can easily set reminders on individual social apps or on our phones. I have set a reminder for every 20 minutes that I stay on Instagram. My maximum daily limit for Instagram scrolling is 1 hour. When I reach the limit, I get off my phone and it has worked pretty well so far. This is just a small step to bring awareness to our default habits.
Now with all of that said, being a lazy person is not all bad. In fact, lazy people come up with creative and innovative ways to get stuff done with minimal to no effort. Anyway, the above-mentioned hacks are a few ways to turn your inner lazy panda who is a couch potato into a breezy panda that has its life together (I apologize for my failed attempt at creating a cute rhyme).
Take care, friend.