How do you trick yourself not to be lazy

First up let me start by saying if you’re worried about being lazy, you’re probably not lazy but in need of a break. Truly lazy people don’t want to do anything, they want to get by on doing the absolute minimum, have no goals and want everything and anything handed to them. If you’re reading this, you might want things to be easier sometimes and a bit less effort, but you have goals and dreams you want to achieve and be successful in your chosen field. Am I right?


If you’re feeling lazy, maybe even for an extended period of time there could be all sorts of very good reasons for it. You might be on the brink of an illness and your body is run down. You might even be in full blown burnout and need a complete reset and recharge to be able to function again. Take that break! Your body and mind need it!!!


If you can’t get yourself to do something in particular, there might be other reasons involved such as the fear of getting things wrong. You might not know where to start or you might have a serious case of perfectionism stopping you from even getting started.


Also, I don’t believe being lazy is a sin (even God rested on the 7th day, remember?). We all need a break once in a while. And taking breaks is super important for your mental well being as well as to recharge for more good quality work.

So no, I don’t think you’re lazy at all!


Let’s have a quick look at the definitions of “lazy”:

The Cambridge English Dictionary says: “not willing or not wanting to work or use effort to do something”; Merriam-Webster describes lazy as “disinclined to activity or exertion; not energetic or vigorous”, and the Oxford English Dictionary has “unwilling to work or be active; doing as little as possible”.


All these definitions describe me at the end of a long day or at the weekend after a tough week, and I definitely don’t consider myself lazy. I just know myself, and when I need a break, I take it. I know that if I don’t, I’ll regret it only too soon.


So what can you do to get over laziness?

Here are my 7 top tips to stop yourself being “lazy”:


Visualise your goals to incentivise

So maybe all you need is to remind yourself what you’re doing all this work for. Spend a few minutes visualising your goals. Ideally do that at the beginning of every day. Just spending 5 or 10 minutes every morning visualising why you’re doing what you’re doing can improve your mindset and motivate you to put in the effort and the hours you need to.


Be kind to yourself

As I mentioned earlier, you might just need a break. Recognise this need, be kind to yourself and grant yourself some time off. This could be just a later start, an earlier finish or take the day off. When was the last time you did that?


Maybe you’re tired and need a nap? Studies have shown that taking a nap can really boost your productivity so rather than fighting with yourself to keep going, give in and take a power nap. Your body, your mind and your to do list will thank you for it.


Break it down

Have you bitten off more than you can chew? Is the thought of a huge project or an enormous task stopping you from even starting? Break it down into more manageable chunks and give yourself mini deadlines to finish each milestone.


Baby steps

If the whole thing still feels a bit overwhelming, find out what the first task is you need to do and do that. Do you have to find a phone number? Do you need to open a document? What is the absolute minimum to move forward even the tiniest bit? That’s your first baby step. Once you’ve done that, what is the next one and so on. Achieving only a teensy result will give you a little boost that you’ve done something and that can give you the energy to do the next little bit. If you’re having a super hard time, stop and continue at a later time. At least you’ve done the very first step.

See also my previous blog post: Using the Tiny Steps Method to Deal with Low Energy Days


Indulge in scheduled lazy time

Not everyone is the same and just because your friends or co-workers can work solidly for 60 hours a week (or more) doesn’t mean you’re built the same way. Schedule in some hours in the day or days in the week when you’re “lazy” and you do all the “lazy” stuff you enjoy, whether that’s watching Netflix, gaming or napping, that’s totally up to you.


Scheduling these times into your diary means you always have something to look forward to when you really need to power through certain tasks.


Remove all distractions

Maybe your form of “lazy” simply means being easily side-tracked. Having social media notifications pinging in on a regular basis that you simply “have to” respond to, having the TV or radio on in the background that take your mind off course or being constantly available for chats with colleagues can easily derail us.


The solution, create a distraction free environment – at least as much as possible.


  • Turn off ALL notifications. You don’t need them; you can check what’s been happening when you’re finished with your important work.

  • Turn off TV, radio and similar – if you like background music find something where nobody speaks. I usually find a YouTube channel with Live broadcasts that play music that helps me concentrate and leave it open in the background.

  • Agree with your co-workers on a cue that you can’t be disturbed for a certain amount of time. This could be a sign on your desk or wearing headphones. I’ve known someone who wears a zany hat when he wants to signal that he can’t be disturbed.

Make your environment as distraction free as possible.


Change things up (maybe you’re just bored)

Do you work in the same place doing the same thing day in, day out? It could be that you simply need a change. Can you move your desk into a different position? Could you work from a different place? Can you change your surroundings with décor or plants? Or maybe you can change the order you do things in? What can you change? Try it and see if it makes a difference.


How I can help

As you can see, I don’t believe you’re lazy and I’m probably right. If you were truly lazy you wouldn’t be reading this article and you wouldn’t be looking to change.


If you’re willing to make long term changes, you might be ready for some serious coaching and that is where I can help. I help my clients to find out which changes to make, and keep them accountable through the process so that the changes stick in the long run.


For more information, pop over to my Coaching Page or get in touch. You can email me at isi@wellorganised.org or connect with me on LinkedIn.