Picture of a man asleep at his computerWho hasn’t felt a little lazy from time to time? Ever notice you have days where the most attractive choice is to do absolutely nothing? I believe that from time to time it’s a good idea to just give in to laziness, but this can be an issue when the desire to be lazy coincides with having a lot of pressing obligations. (In fact, that’s when you are most likely to feel lazy.)

Overcoming laziness is a skill that everyone can learn and apply. Never again will you have to feel motivated in order to get things done.

The next time you’re feeling lazy when you’ve got a lot on your plate, try applying these tips:

1. Think about the end result rather than the process. The thought of having a clean house or a completed business report feels good. The idea of cleaning or crunching numbers does not. If you find yourself dragging your feet, concentrate on the end result.

2. Decide to work for just 5 minutes. Taking that first step is always the most challenging part. It’s often easy to continue if you can just get started. Setting a small goal can make it easier to get up off the couch. Tell yourself you can quit after 5 minutes. More often than not, you’ll keep going. Focus on getting started.

3. List the advantages of getting things done now. Think about the positive aspects of getting things done right now. You won’t have to worry about it tomorrow. It will be one less thing to weigh on your mind. Convince yourself that the time for action is right now.

4. List the disadvantages of waiting to complete your tasks. One reason we’re able to convince ourselves that laziness is okay is the belief that a task can wait. Remind yourself of the challenges that can be created by putting things off. Make a big list of everything that could go wrong if you continue to be lazy.

5. Remind yourself of the challenges you faced by being lazy in the past. We’ve all put things off for too long and then suffered for it. Remind yourself of the real consequences you’ve faced in the past. Remember that pain and use it to inspire you.

6. Have some exciting goals. If you feel lazy on a regular basis, maybe your goals aren’t inspiring enough. Or you’re doing work you don’t really enjoy. One way of knowing you’ve set an effective goal is the excitement you feel when you think about achieving it.

7. Break the task into smaller, manageable chunks. Big tasks can be intimidating and overwhelming. By making several small tasks, it’s much easier psychologically to get busy.

8. Hit the gym. When you’re struggling to take action, sometimes a little physical activity is the answer. Go for a walk or lift some weights. Any activity that gets your heart pumping can be effective to get you started on a task that you’re putting off. When I feel myself lagging, that’s when I usually take a walk down to the mailbox place to see if I have any mail.

9. Get organized. It’s common to feel less than motivated when your surroundings are cluttered. Take a few minutes to make your surroundings a little tidier. It might be the kick-start you need to leap into action. If your desk gets piled with papers (like mine does) either stack them up on one corner, or better, take the time to process that paper and get it out of sight.

10. Manage your self-talk. Tell yourself how great it will be to get a lot of things done and off your plate. Stand up straight, take a deep breath, and keep positive thoughts in your mind. You’ll feel the energy and motivation you need to forge ahead.

11. Take a nap. Is it possible you’re tired? Feeling lazy and genuine fatigue go hand-in-hand. If you’re tired, getting in a little nap might be beneficial.

Enjoying a lazy Sunday is certainly pleasurable and I suggest you do that often. Feeling lazy on occasion is normal, too, but that doesn’t mean it’s always acceptable. There are times when being lazy can create real challenges, so overcoming the urge to be lazy is a useful life skill to employ when you need it that can provide meaningful benefits.

Now it’s your turn. What will you do the next time you’re feeling lazy? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.