Laziness can sometimes lead to creativity when you are taking a break from a problem you cannot solve. Some research suggest that lazy people are the most creative. It is not hard to believe this when you see some of the inventions such as the television remote control. Instead of getting up to switch off the TV you just flip the channels. Laziness and procrastination can be positive sometimes to recharge and distress, but can also cause dreams that are not realized. For every major accomplishment there is a first step. It takes getting up and seating on a laptop to write a business plan, it sometimes takes discipline to fill up forms to get funding for your business or improve your CV for the next c-suite position. All of these are actions taken with an intention to accomplish a goal. When we are lazy and procrastinating we fail to act and rationalize about why the present is not a good time to act.
We give ourselves excuses and postpone action using our internal dialog, “the rain is too loud I can’t call right now”, “the computer is too slow to accomplish work”, “I am too tired”… or “I will do it tomorrow still”… and so on. When you get lazy and procrastinate this can sometimes set you back in terms of goal achievement. The sad thing is you won’t always know it because you cannot tell when your inability to update your CV, or to write a business plan and apply for funding has led you to a lost opportunity. This article shares 2 quick ways to overcome laziness:
1. Have future focus instead of present focus
When we are lazy and procrastinating we are driven by present focus – the pleasure of seating in a couch watching TV instead of exercising can sometimes overcome your good intentions to keep fit. Sleeping instead of starting the day early is much easier to do for most of us. Pain and pleasure drives the actions that we take – the pain of taking action and getting up versus the pleasure of seating in the couch and watching television. We might feel more pleasure in relaxing and putting out action and associate more pain to getting up or leaving the couch. In the present focus we might even forget what is good for us in the long term.
In order to discipline yourself and overcome laziness and procrastination, awareness in terms of how pleasure and pain influence your actions is important. In order to overcome laziness. You need to replace present pleasure that you experience in whatever it is that you are doing by the anticipated future pleasure you will gain from acting immediately. Runners do this very well. When going for a run most runners hardly think about the long road that they will face. Instead they think about the feeling of accomplishment that they will experience after running. Accomplishments allow us to experience feelings of satisfaction, fulfilment and joy knowing that we have taken action. To overcome laziness the focus should be on the expected pleasurable feelings that we will receive from accomplishing a task. Used well, the expected feelings of accomplishment can easily replace perceived present pleasure from not acting.
I doubt if anyone would be encouraged to overcome laziness and go to the gym if they thought of all the hard work they would have to do at gym and the muscle pain. Instead those who go to gym think about the rewards after gym such as being physically fit and having positive body image. Gym fanatics overlook what most people see as pleasure when they do not exercise and replace present pleasure with future anticipated gain i.e. being physically fit, muscular, weight loss and so on.
You might ask yourself how to do this from a practical point of view? Here is how – Let’s say that you are seating in a couch lazy to exercise enjoying the pleasure of the moment. To get yourself encouraged to exercise begin picturing anticipated future pleasure from exercising. See yourself having completed your exercise – this can be running, going to the gym or doing a few exercises in your own home. Experience before hand how happy you will feel about yourself knowing you stuck to your plan and completed your exercise routine. Picture yourself in the future having positive body image and feeling healthier. Feel the intensity of this positive feelings in your heart. As you experience the positive feelings get up immediately, wear your gym clothes and exercise. You will find that you have more power overcoming laziness when you visualize positive future results like this.
2. Always act immediately
Most of the time, laziness and procrastination manifests itself as a result of the internal debate we have with ourselves prior to taking action. Often before pushing ourselves to get up from bed we ask ourselves questions, “should I get up now?”, “Maybe I should sleep 10 minutes more”, “I am going to run late maybe I should wake up?”, “How about calling in sick?” Depending on the day, you either defeat your thoughts and get up or you get defeated and sleep until late.
To overcome laziness and procrastination it is best that you act immediately on whatever it is that you want to do before the internal debate starts. This will help you change the pattern that laziness and procrastination causes. So always and always act immediately when you need to do something without allowing yourself to have an internal debate.