How to … stop being lazy

Over the past few months, the mandated lockdown has seen many of us become homebodies. And while it has forced many of us to slow down and smell the roses, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it may be the speeding back up part that is the hardest. 

Sometimes, it’s just too hard to heave yourself out of your sluggish routine, especially if you’re someone who’s predisposed to laziness. Luckily, lots of formerly lazy people have taken to Reddit to share their top tips on how they finally got their act together and became more productive, successful people.

This is advice you can apply to all areas of your life, whether you want to be less lethargic at home, work or in your social life.

1. Write lists
Many Reddit users agree that the first step to becoming an organised person is writing lists.

Reddit user aaronk287 says: “If you write lists, especially in a very visible place, it makes it easier to accomplish daily/monthly/annual tasks.”

This is key to heaving yourself out of laziness – lists spell out clearly what you need to get done and seeing it all written down will (hopefully) inspire you to get on with it and feel organised and in control.

There’s even a way to cheat list-writing to make yourself feel good about your productivity. User CtrlAltDeleteEndTask says: “A great thing about doing this is when you do something that wasn’t on your list, add it to the list and get immediate gratification crossing it off right away.”

2. Surround yourself with driven people
If all your friends are couch potatoes, chances are you’ll spend most of your free time lounging about with them. However, if you tend to hang out with people who are more active, you could be inspired by their get-up-and-go mindset.

User black_fire mentions one particular friend who showed them the benefits of actually getting off your bum and doing stuff. They say: “I realised the joy they felt after they accomplished a milestone was far greater than any happiness I felt by doing nothing.”

User liqlslip agrees, and says: “It’s amazing what people can accomplish without an echo-chamber of debilitating nihilism, social anxiety, insomnia, broken reward receptors, and short-term memory problems.”

3. Change your mindset
Unfortunately, who you hang out with won’t magically make you less lazy – a huge part of changing your ways is shifting your own attitude.

Previously, you might have avoided doing things because you were afraid of failure, for instance. However, if you go into all situations thinking positively, you’re much more likely to actually tackle the task – whether it’s something as small as cleaning your room, or as big as taking on a new project at work.

User zazzlekdazzle says: “I realised I wasn’t really lazy; I was just afraid of failure and lacked confidence. I think my subconscious logic was that I shouldn’t bother to try because I was likely to fail and end up in the same place anyway, so why put in the effort?”

Once they realised this, shifting from a negative to a more positive mental state was a huge factor in helping them to achieve more.

4. Fake it ’til you make it
Having confidence in yourself isn’t always easy, especially if it involves stepping outside your usual comfort zone, so to some extent you have to fake it.

It’s the ultimate anti-laziness trick. User Bewilder_me says: “You know how you sometimes have to pretend to be sleeping in order to fall asleep? I started pretending I wasn’t lazy, and then I wasn’t lazy anymore.”

Some call it ‘fake it ’til you make it’, but we like to think of it as believing in yourself.

5. If it takes two minutes, do it
You’ve probably heard this mantra again and again from your mum and rolled your eyes, but it will seriously help your productivity.

Sevg advises: “If things pile up, then you’ll never be motivated to finish your chores, let alone do anything else [other] than procrastinate. Seriously, if something takes less than two or even five minutes, do it!”

Think how little time two minutes actually is. You’d spend so much longer than that aimlessly scrolling online, so why not put that time to good use – before getting back to the important task of trying to stalk an ex on Facebook.

Doing small things as soon as they happen will prevent things from building up, and make your to-do lists less daunting.

6. Reward yourself
Being productive is hard work, especially if you’re someone who is prone to lethargy. So, why not encourage yourself to achieve your goals with some incentives?

“Use laziness as a reward and not a barrier. I reward myself with doing nothing for three hours, once I’ve cleared off all my tasks. Few things feel better than doing absolutely nothing with a clear mind,” user ksozay says.

To be successful and productive, you don’t need to completely eliminate your lazy side, just use it as a motivation. When we lounge about being unproductive, we’re likely procrastinating doing something we need to. This means that we aren’t fully relaxed, because the ghost of all the tasks we need to complete is hovering over our shoulder. Instead, use real, guilt-free downtime and relaxation as a reward for crossing off your to-do list.

– With PA

Would you call yourself a lazy person? What advice would you give other readers trying to overcome their lazy habits?

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Liv Gardiner
Liv Gardiner
Writer and editor with interests in travel, lifestyle, health, wellbeing, astrology and the enivornment.
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