We all have those days when we often feel lazy and unmotivated, preferring other relaxing activities like playing video games or watching TV on the couch ( my favorite procrastination examples)
The real problem is when this happens too often and makes it difficult for us to find the energy and focus to get things done.
Since I know this situation very well, I will explain how to overcome laziness and procrastination by improving your time management skills and concentration in today’s article.
While it may seem impossible to stop procrastinating at times, understanding why and how it affects us is the first step in finding strategies to overcome it.
It doesn’t often require radical changes, but we will see some simple habits together in this blog article.
- Working out releases endorphins that help improve focus and energy, and boosts our self-esteem.
- Morning meditation helps set the tone for a successful day, improves concentration and reduces stress levels.
- Positive affirmations replace bad thoughts with good ones to build emotional resilience while tidying up our workspace reduces distractions
- Use the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize tasks so we can make more efficient use of time by avoiding multitasking.
Tips to Overcome Procrastination and Laziness
According to the most recent procrastination statistics, 20% of people are chronic procrastinators.
Here are some strategies I use daily to stay focused and not give in to laziness (even if I would like to!).
As soon as you start implementing them, you will notice significant improvements, which will help you stop procrastinating and develop accountability.
When I started training seriously at 17, my life completely changed.
Regular exercise releases endorphins that help improve your energy levels and make you feel accomplished.
Training helps you take care of your body and get you used to finding the motivation to do energy-consuming activities, making it one of the best ways to help you stop procrastinating.
Not to mention that physical activity enforces healthy habits such as discipline and dedication, making your day-to-day life easier to manage and prioritize your work.
By working out, I don’t mean becoming a bodybuilder or a professional athlete: whether it’s just walking around the house or a 30-minute or even 15-minute workout at home, doing daily physical activity is essential to stop being lazy.
Just make sure to be consistent at working out and don’t find excuses to skip your workouts!
Morning meditation is another habit that helped me a lot to stop procrastinating and get motivation back.
Even small 5-minute mindfulness sessions can be hugely beneficial in setting the tone for a successful day ahead.
Practicing meditation first thing in the morning can help you take a break from everyday stress, starting the day relaxed and energetic.
Morning meditation has also been linked to improved concentration and reduced stress levels, making it easier to manage difficult situations with clarity, calmness, compassion and less reactivity.
If you can’t meditate in the morning, you can do it whenever you feel like but don’t underestimate this extremely beneficial activity that will help you achieve your goals
Positive affirmations are a form of psychological self-care that involves repeating statements to create an uplifting outlook about yourself and your life circumstances.
This is extremely effective if you’re a worrier, one of the five types of procrastinators.
By making positive statements about what we hope for our lives, we protect ourselves from negative thought patterns, which lead to feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, and guilt
Make a list of these affirmations, and be sure to use them when you’re in lack of motivation or when you notice you put off tasks that you need to do.
For instance, whenever I struggled to get started on an important presentation and felt overwhelmed by self-doubt, I repeatedly reminded myself, “I am confident and capable.”
It may not immediately reverse your state of mind, but it will slowly shift your attitude towards a more balanced perspective based on beliefs such as “This is something I can do” or “I will manage this challenge successfully.”
In my experience, I am more likely to procrastinate when my office or house is messy.
A clean, clutter-free desk can help you stay focused on the task, reduce distractions, and give you mental clarity.
By ensuring that all unnecessary items are put away when not in use, it’s much harder to distract yourself and start another activity or less essential tasks.
Procrastination involves putting off important tasks to do others that have less priority but require less effort.
To avoid this, make a list of things that must be completed and also set a time limit to do it.
You can create a to-do list or use an accountability calendar where you can write the tasks you need to complete.
You’ll probably discover that some of them take much less time than you thought, but they seem much more challenging by continually putting them off!
Tackle the most challenging task first
If you are a procrastinator, you know well that we always tend to leave the most challenging task for last.
From now on, force yourself to do it first, even when you feel tempted to procrastinate once again.
Starting with tasks that may be the most difficult to complete, will help you boost your confidence and get out of your comfort zone.
For example, when I work on a large project, I try to get rid of specific tasks that require me time and effort as first, so it’s all downhill from here.
Use the Eisenhower Matrix
Image source: https://asana.com/resources/eisenhower-matrix
Using the Eisenhower Matrix is one of the most effective ways to fight procrastination and laziness.
This decision-making tool can help you quickly prioritize tasks at work and in your daily life, so you can make more efficient use of your time.
The matrix consists of four quadrants: urgent and important, not urgent and important, urgent but not important, and not urgent or important.
The first quadrant groups together things that need to get done straight away as they are both high priority and require an imminent reaction, like a meeting or an impending deadline
Not urgent and important tasks usually involve long-term goals work such as learning something new or networking opportunities which often take more extended periods ( like weeks or even months) but generate rewards in the future;
Urgent But Not Important activities typically relate to small tasks such as checking emails, researching potential resources, etc.
The last quadrant refers to leisure activities like browsing social media sites, which provide no tangible benefit other than momentary pleasure.
If you want to stop procrastination, the Eisenhower Matrix will help you understand what needs to be done first and better manage your time.
It’s natural to want to do multiple tasks simultaneously, but multitasking can often lead to decreased productivity and focus, especially for procrastinators.
Too many tasks competing for attention and resources can cause our brain to become overwhelmed, leading us nowhere.
Focusing on single tasks that need to be done and what’s important first improves our motivation and concentration, allowing us to use our limited hours in a day more efficiently.
Complete Quick Tasks Immediately
I usually procrastinate on actions that take much less time than I think, but they seem impossible because I keep putting them off.
What is the best way to solve this problem? Complete quick tasks without thinking about it!
Quick tasks can include anything from running errands such as replying to emails or going out grocery shopping, following up with clients to more minor tasks like organizing important documents or even checking minor house repairs.
All this can have a massive impact on increasing productivity and maintaining focus in working towards larger long-term goals rather than letting them accumulate and pile up until they seem overwhelming.
Plan Work and Free Time
Creating a schedule is vital in overcoming procrastination and laziness.
Try to plan out work and free time evenly throughout the day, or even on a weekly basis.
Having a visual of when you must complete tasks and when you have free time can help keep yourself accountable even when you desire to procrastinate.
- Create your own goals: Making goals for what needs to be completed in X amount of time will motivate you to accomplish the task.
- Prioritize Tasks: Separate your list into the four categories of the Eisenhower Matrix: in this way, you can focus on urgent matters first and then worry about others later. Make sure that your most pressing projects are done first before tackling lesser ones because they may take longer than expected!
- Take Breaks: Scheduling breaks throughout the day will help refresh your body and mind and give you space away from any stresses related to completing your tasks effectively or within specific deadlines if these exist. Allocating 5 minutes at regular intervals helps,stepping away from any screen time too during those times gives eyesight relief!
If this topic interests you, you can learn more about how procrastination affects your time management.
Use the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is a valuable and popular time management method to help people who often procrastinate.
It involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and working on a single task until the timer dings, then taking a five-minute break before starting again.
This helps you to stay focused, handle interruptions, and accomplish more tasks.
What’s great about it is that while it keeps you efficient in completing essential tasks throughout the day by breaking them down into manageable chunks of time, it also allows you enough breaks not to overwhelm yourself or quickly burn out.
The fact that you know you have to concentrate for a short time and have a break is one of the best ways to beat procrastination forever.
Once again, self-accountability is critical in helping overcome laziness and procrastination.
Setting specific goals, creating deadlines for each goal, and having an accountability partner can be the driving force behind personal success and completion of tasks, especially when you feel like procrastination is ruining your life.
If you are being held accountable by another person or even your self-imposed expectations, it motivates you to complete any task on time or before.
This creates a sense of accomplishment and confidence, encouraging further progress through goal attainment.
For example, I hold myself accountable for meeting a deadline for writing an article by checking in daily on my progress.
This is better than missing the deadline without updating friends or colleagues who promised to help hold me accountable.
Distractions are one of the top 10 reasons why people procrastinate.
I know it’s easier said than done, but you must consciously eliminate distractions to overcome procrastination and laziness.
It’s easy to fall into the temptation of looking at your phone for 5 minutes, which then turns into 30 or even more.
Be sure to turn off notifications from your phone and other devices while you work, and create a designated workspace free of extraneous items or tasks.
By taking these simple steps, I can always increase my focus on the task at hand by eliminating phone distractions and any interference from outside sources.
I know it can be difficult in today’s world, where almost everyone is constantly connected through their phones and computers.
But if you’re willing to destroy your procrastination tendencies, then you must put extra effort into limiting or removing distracting stimuli from your environment.
You can use, for example, anti-procrastination apps, which are very powerful tools to beat this enemy once and for all!
Every time you accomplish something, give yourself a pat on the back!
This practice reinforces positive behaviors and encourages future action by providing incentives to stay productive.
As an example, if I need to fit in 3 hours of working on a project one day, I might set up the goal that if I finish my entire working session without interruption or procrastination, then I’ll treat myself to an excellent Italian pizza at the end of the week!
Not only does this motivate me to focus more, but it will also help me relax after finishing such hard work – and who doesn’t love pizza?
Even if your tasks are more mundane throughout your week, you can still reward yourself for their completion.
We are not perfect beings: many times, despite the will, there will be those days when you feel lazy and tend to procrastinate.
To avoid feeling bad and guilty, you should forgive yourself and accept these days.
Self-forgiving involves recognizing the hurt created by our behavior or attitude towards ourselves, which usually includes guilt and regret, and looking at why we have behaved this way.
This helps create more self-awareness, strengthening our capacity to accept personal responsibility and be motivated.
Procrastination and laziness often seem like incredible obstacles, but sometimes, you need to implement a few simple strategies to improve the situation immediately.
Simple activities such as exercising, meditating, or reciting positive affirmations each morning can create the momentum you need to tackle the challenging tasks ahead.
Developing an accountability system is also an excellent way to stay focused and get more done each day while setting up challenges that reward yourself for completing specific tasks encourages impulse control and adds motivation to the mix.
Now that you have all the weapons at your disposal to defeat procrastination and laziness, all you have to do is start implementing them in your daily routine!