Is there a reason you’ve got the Monday blues? Perhaps you partied too much on the weekend, but it could be you just have a lazy gene. Yes, research shows that laziness is yet another thing we can blame on our parents. Animals and human’s generally have an affinity for activities that produce pleasure giving Dopamine, such as eating, sex and exercise. However, some people may inherit a genetic mutation that inhibits the Dopamine receptor, which provides pleasure when one is active. The following excerpt from Lifehacker discusses how to pinpoint your type of laziness and how to overcome it.
Start by identifying what your issue actually is. Try out some time tracking software to see where you spend your time. Or you can simply use a spreadsheet and write down what you do, hour by hour, for a week. Once you’ve got some data, break down the underlying problem into a few categories:
- Self-discipline: If your schedule is packed, but you’re not getting as much done as you could or should in that time, you may have a self-discipline problem. Solutions may involve removing distractions, but you may also need to find ways to boost your willpower.
- Unrealistic expectations: If your schedule is packed and you’re actually getting stuff done, but you still feel lazy, your problem could be that you’re being too hard on yourself. We all want to get stuff done, but don’t forget to slow down every once in a while.
- Motivation: If your schedule is pretty empty, or a majority of your time is spent on sleep or leisure activities, motivation could be the problem. Motivation problems can range from not knowing what to do with your life to battling depression, but everyone deals with it in some form eventually.
Obviously, how you deal with “laziness” will depend on what the underlying issues are. And these issues aren’t mutually exclusive, either. No matter what, you’ll need to tailor any solution to your specific needs. Take time to examine your own weaknesses and come up with a plan that works for you.
Learn How to Value Your Work
The terrible irony of our uber-busy culture is that we often hate our work. As strange as it may be to accept, work can actually be enjoyable and rewarding, even if you don’t find some mythical “soul mate” job. Learning to appreciate the value of work for its own sake is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. However, your mindset about work will have a drastic effect on how much you get done.
As Forbes contributor Erika Anderson points out, if you’re surrounded by people who hate their work and can’t stop complaining about it, stop hanging around them. Your attitude can be brought down by negative conversation, and more importantly, you never hear about any benefits:
In every organisation, there will always be some people who take great delight in trashing everything. Ultimate cynics, they’ll regale you with stories of how the boss is an idiot, the company is out to get you, the rest of the employees are chumps, and the work is ridiculous and meaningless. While there’s a certain mean-spirited, self-righteous satisfaction in taking the everyone’s-a-loser-but-us approach, in the long run it will just make you more unhappy. Hearing only the negatives about your workplace makes it hard to see the positives that may exist, and it ultimately will make you feel worse about yourself (if this place and these people are so awful, why am I still here?). Spending time with colleagues who have a more balanced view can dramatically shift your emotional response to your job.
Cynical attitudes about your work do nothing to help your productivity. To get back on track, try some exercises to adjust your mindset:
- Write a list of benefits. There are always benefits to doing work (otherwise, why would anyone do it?) so take a minute to appreciate them. If you get satisfaction from having a stack of clean laundry, an empty email inbox, or a full paycheque, take time to note it.
- Savor the times you enjoy working. Unless you’re dealing with deeper emotional issues, there are probably some moments when you actually enjoy your work. When that happens, pause (if you can) and describe the moment to yourself or let someone else know. Externalising it can help you remember it later. Intentionally spotting the moments you like your work can also help with those dreaded “What should I do with my life?” questions.
- Reframe what “work” is in your mind. While you’re getting stuff done, if you’re feeling miserable about it, counter your own thoughts. Remind yourself that work is worthwhile. Smile on purpose. Just like when you’re dealing with failure, how you treat work sets you up for how you will experience it.
Ultimately, no one can make you enjoy work. But if you actively fight the urge to be negative about it, rather than indulge it, you can turn your mindset around. The quickest way to get more done is to look forward to doing it. If you’re still having trouble looking for a way to start, try filling out this three task checklist to keep it simple:
- I must ______________ (a high-priority task that will have an immediate impact)
- I should _____________ (a task that will contribute to your long-term goals)
- I want ______________ (something you genuinely want to do)
Disrupt Your Habits
If the first thing you do when you come home is throw your keys on the coffee table, lay down on the couch and turn on the TV, you set yourself up for an unproductive evening right off the bat. Similarly, if you check Facebook or even email first thing in the morning, you might be wasting your best hours.
To interrupt the cycle, make it harder to go about your usual routine. If you head straight for the couch when you get home, unplug your TV at night. If you check Facebook too often, uninstall the app from your phone. Even if it’s just a little inconvenience, disrupting your usual triggers can create a break in your muscle memory and kickstart a new habit.
Once you develop a habit of not being lazy, it is easier to keep up with it. It is the starting out and developing new habits that is the hard part. It is also best to slowly evolve better time and task management habits, rather that trying to make drastic and overly ambitious changes to your routine. Think of specific ways you’d like to change and on those in specific ways. The following video goes into depth on how to work through your laziness, both in the short and long-term.