Feeling Lazy? Here are 4 ways out of the funk

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 “UGH”

A very quick preview of what comes up on a web search is very revealing. Start to type in the words “how to stop” and guess what comes up in auto-fill? Usually “being lazy” and “procrastinating” are near the top of the search results.

One good takeaway from that is knowing that if you are struggling with feeling lazy, you are far from alone.

Apparently, millions of other people are having the same problem. In today’s hectic, fast-paced world, our plates are overflowing with to-do lists, meetings, obligations, and of course, the ever-present smartphone continually buzzing out notifications.

It’s enough to make you just want to forget it all and go take a nap. Since that isn’t usually possible, apathy can set in, and minds can stubbornly just refuse to cooperate with that inner voice saying “get more done!”

When that happens, we feel lazy. Indifferent. Passive. And weary, oh so weary. Our goals end up getting short shrift in while we are drowning in minutiae – that state where we just put off things that are important because of…

“The tyranny of the urgent.”

This is a phrase coined by Charles Hummel in 1967.

So fifty years ago, people were struggling with this dilemma, and this was in an era free of smartphones, texting, emails, and the resulting suffocating feeling of being “on call” 24/7.

We all want to know how to overcome laziness and get things done, so let’s figure out how.

1. Are you truly lazy?

No, really – this is a serious question. Plenty of people think they are “lazy” when in fact they just feel guilty about not getting more accomplished. It’s possible that you are not lazy at all, and in fact just a perfectionist. And perfectionists rarely think they are accomplishing enough, if ever.

If you’re a perfectionist, then you likely won’t ever feel like what you do is enough. Or good enough, for that matter. Give yourself a break.

Another thing to consider: you’re not lazy if you truly have too much on your schedule. You have 24 hours a day, or more likely 16, if you manage to get 8 hours of sleep a night. There is only so much one can accomplish in that time, given that you also have to eat, take bathroom breaks, wait in lines, possibly commute to work, and so on.

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If you are kicking yourself because you aren’t working out enough, yet you also have a demanding job, a spouse, 3 kids, and a mortgage to pay – you aren’t lazy. You have a scheduling challenge.

In order to determine how best to define your problem, you have to establish what it actually is. A litmus test for this is to take a typical week in your life – making no radical changes – and track it.

There are several time tracking apps and sites that can do the heavy lifting for you. Just pick one, any one of them – and start tracking.

After the week has passed, take some time to review the results:

  • If you see that your time was jam-packed with activity – work, eating, exercise, etc. – and you just aren’t getting to your dream goals, like say, working on a novel – you don’t have a problem with laziness. You just need to tweak your schedule.
  • If your time tracking reveals that you are putting in hours, but not accomplishing as much as reasonably possible (“reasonably” is the important word here), then you could probably use a tune-up on self-discipline.

2. Don’t count on “the right mood” (hint: there isn’t one)

The number one, unquestionable habit of people who are highly successful, is this: they never, ever wait until they “feel like it” to get something accomplished. If you are waiting for just the right mood to come wafting by, you will be waiting a long time. Possibly forever.

Moods are funny things. They are unpredictable, testy, fickle, and most of all, hard to pin down. You might as well try to throw yourself on a wave in the ocean and hold it down. It’s not going to happen. Waiting to do something until you “feel like it” is a recipe for failure.

3. Drop the excuses

George Washington Carver, a man who clearly did not make excuses (he invented hundreds of uses for peanuts), said “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.”

What are some of the most common excuses people make?

 

  • “I’m too tired”
  • “I don’t have enough time”
  • “It’s too late”
  • “ It’s too hard”
  • “I can start later”
  • “I need more money”
  • “I’m too old”
  • “I’m too young”
  • “I’m too fat”
  • “I’m too scrawny”
  • “I’m not smart enough”
  • “I’m too busy”
  • “I don’t know how”
  • “I might fail”
  • “I’ll do it when the kids are in school”
  • “I’ll do it when the kids graduate from school”
  • “It’s not the right time”
  • “I’m waiting for ___ to happen”

 

Surely some of these sound very familiar. Don’t beat on yourself if you’ve made some of these excuses, everyone has. It’s part of the human condition.

Cave men, if they could talk, probably said they were too tired to go out hunting and gathering.

The difference was, they had no choice. It was hunt and gather, or starve to death.

Given that in our gilded age of excess, we typically won’t starve if we put off a goal, so we tend to lack the appropriate motivation. If we were facing starvation, or had a charging rhinoceros behind us, it’s guaranteed we would get up and get going. Fast.

The solution? Find something that motivates you.


4.Finding motivation

Motivation is the carrot that propels the donkey to keep plodding along, he wants that carrot!  What is your “carrot?”

  • Fear – probably the strongest motivator out there. Remember the rhinoceros scenario? Being motivated by fear means you are scared of possible negative or painful consequences.
  • Self-improvement – if you have a fire inside yourself, eager to achieve greater knowledge, power, and personal growth, then you are motivated by the desire to become a better version of yourself.
  • Connection – an inner longing to connect and bond with others is a very powerful motivator. This goes hand-in-hand with the need for acceptance.
  • Helping – the aspiration to contribute to others – or society in general – is a motivation based on wanting to “make a difference.”
  • Power – this can be based on a couple of things: wanting to control others in some way, or just have personal autonomy (in other words, not needing others to help). The desire to take the wheel of control in our own lives is another aspect of this.
  • Rewards – if you get stars in your eyes and a flutter in your heart over the idea of making a ton of money, then you are motivated by rewards. Of course, you could also just want outside validation, not money, as a reward, Either way, you are motivated by the idea of gaining something.


Think of motivation as fuel for your tank
– just like your car requires gasoline in order to move, and your body requires food in order to survive. Motivation is really no different – it is simply the fuel that gets you from where you are now, to where you want to be.

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5-minutes to happy!

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While no one really expects to feel happy every minute of every day, there are times when the doldrums hit. To kick the doldrums out and sweep out the dull mopey feelings, check out these five easy, quick (5 minutes or less! ) ways to turn your “happy switch” back on.

  1. Watch a funny short video

You don’t need a two hour comedy to get your smile back, just Google “funny videos” and you’ll have thousands of choices! Sometimes we have an old favorite that never fails to get a laugh out of us – if so, go right to that one.

Just take just a couple of minutes to find one that tickles your fancy. In five minutes you could be having a fit of laughter – and laughter heals a lot of ailments, especially the doldrums.

This adorable bulldog trying to get through a door with his bone is hysterical!

  1. Listen to a favorite song

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Now isn’t the time for a slow dance favorite – it’s time to get your happy on! Everyone has that “one song” (or hopefully several) that makes them want to get up and dance.

That’s probably why the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams was such a smash hit – it made people want to get up and dance! The official music video will give you a huge smile.

Another timeless mood boosting song is “Footloose,” by Kenny Loggins. It is almost impossible to listen to this song without smiling!

Surely you have some favorites up your sleeve – but those two songs are definite happy-makers.

  1. Look at pictures of cute baby animals

This admittedly sounds pretty hokey, but try it! Google images for “cute baby animals” and you will be smiling in under five seconds. Often, it’s the things considered downright “hokey” that makes us happiest!

If you want to take it up a notch, look for videos of adorable baby animals – the happy-boost-factor will go up ten-fold!

Here’s my baby kitten Blaze – when he was just 3 weeks old (someone left him in a box in front of a local PetSmart).

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Isn’t he precious! Just looking at him makes me smile!

  1. Take a 5 minute meditation break

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This is rather low key – but the results leave you feeling refreshed and recharged – two very big components of happiness. There are numerous meditation apps you can download right on your smartphone!

If you want to get that refreshment in five minutes flat, you’re good to go with the “5-Minute Meditation” app available for both iPhone and Android.

  1. Get up and MOVE

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Sometimes all you need to shake off the blues is to get your blood flowing. Get up and start dancing, or stretching – anything really. March in place if you’re not the dancing type – it doesn’t matter as long as you get your heart pumping for a bit!

You might want to combine this one with tip number two – play your favorite happy song and bust some moves! The sillier the better – act like a complete goofball and make yourself laugh!

Another great way to get your blood flowing is to take a brisk five minute walk outside if it’s a nice day. If it’s a clear day, the sunshine will be your friend in overcoming the blues – fresh air and sunshine are two of nature’s best remedies.

Do you have any quick tips for boosting your mood?

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