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The Lazy Person’s Guide To Not Being Lazy

Do you feel dead tired after work? Can’t wait to sit down in that comfortable sofa of yours? Basically, you feel lazy, right?

You see, what I have noticed is how the negative spiral of laziness just takes a big hold of our entire lives and never lets go. Until we really make a change that is.

It usually starts with a few nights of postponing reading that book or calling that person. Then before you know it, your entire life project has been put on ice. Why?

Simple because laziness is a habit. That’s right, it’s nothing else than a certain way of living that has been programmed into our brains.

But how does this happen, and how can we fight the temptation of being lazy?

How can we continue on the road to our dreams? (and not the road to bad health, low energy and future regret)

Well, my way when I try to help people is a 4-step approach. So in essence, being lazy is about not having enough energy. But what most people mix up here is what type of energy we’re talking about. Both mental and physical energy is equally important and they go hand-in-hand just like I will outline here today.

My 4 Steps to Not Being Lazy

1. Get Motivated

First things first – unless you have something specific that you want to spend your time doing (a hobby project, your own business, mastering a skill, etc.) there’s no reason to even have more energy.

Everyone has 24 hours per day and you can choose yourself what do with yours. When I talk about laziness I mean “the art of postponing, or avoiding, to do the things that matter the most to you” so step number 1 is to clearly identify what you actually want to do. Doing insignificant things just too keep busy has no self-value so then you might as well just lie on the sofa. So ask yourself:

If I had 1 extra hour each day where I had unlimited amount of energy, what would I spend that time doing?

Whatever answer you come up with, let’s call this activity “Your Awesome Activity”.

2. Feel Urgent

But unfortunately motivation alone is not enough. Without a strong sense of urgency, you might as well do it tomorrow instead…

For me, it wasn’t until I started feeling really urgent about setting up my own website that things really happened. Now, 7 months later, I have over 100 articles on the site. And I love writing more and more.

So how can you “find” this urgency?

Well, that’s a very good question and the way I suggest is to do a small imagination exercise. It goes something like this:

Imagine that in exactly one year a big change is coming into your life. This big change will completely stop you from being able to spend any more time on “Your Awesome Activity” for the next 24 months after that. Pretty bad, right? So if you want to want to create something, the only time is Now, or else you’ll have to wait more than 3 years before you can get started.

With this type of mindset, anything can become urgent – learning a language, playing the guitar, building a website, etc.

3. Get Energetic

And in order to be able to really focus on “Your Awesome Activity”, of course you need some energy. And I’m not going to go on here about how it’s great to eat healthy and exercise plenty – we all know that already.

Instead, I’m just going to share with you an insight of mine. You can do whatever you want with it, all I can say is that it works for me and I recommend you to give it a try.

It’s like this: All time is not created equal.

I believe (from experience and theory) that the early morning hours can be much more valuable than the evening hours. Why?

Simply because in the morning your mind hasn’t been bombarded with information from the outside world yet and is therefore still in a calm, Zen-like state. This focus and ability to be highly productive is something we should cherish deeply and use fully!

Previously, I always had problems doing anything meaningful at all after work. My mind was simply too tired and scattered. So take my advice and try to wake up at 5 a.m. for a few days to see if you can get things done. The feeling of peacefulness and the fact that you won’t be interrupted at whatever you’re doing is truly precious.

I guess you worry about feeling tired, but let me tell you that if you manage to keep it up a few weeks, then this habit will make you wake up even more refreshed than you can imagine. It’s all about really going for it 100%.

4. Feed it Back

I mentioned in the beginning that laziness is a habit. So if we want to overcome that, we must replace it with a new, even stronger, habit. That’s the reason why I want to stress the importance of this point.

I’m talking about feeding the results back to yourself and taking the time to reflect on how you’re progressing. You don’t want to make this life change into just something that you read, tried and then forgot about, right? So the way I suggest for how to keep this at the top of your mind, to avoid falling back into old habits, is to just take 2 minutes every day to write down:

  • At what times did I overcome my laziness today?
  • How did I do that? (thought patterns, circumstances, etc.)
  • At what times did I skip my goal and was being lazy instead?
  • What happened? (thought patterns, circumstances, etc.)

So with this 4-step approach, I believe many of us can get back on track again. It’s so easy to fall back into old patterns and get stuck there.

If you just start with some reflection to find out what happened and why you have ended up in a situation where you’re not moving forward as much as you want, then that’s the best possible start there is. I wish you the best of luck and know that we all can improve.

This guest post is contributed by Matthew M. McEwan from His blog is loaded with tips, tricks and strategies for how to sleep well, wake up early, and have an awesome morning.

36 Responses to The Lazy Person’s Guide To Not Being Lazy

  1. LaziestOne! says:

    seriously! …a real lazy person like me didn’t even read the whole post :p

  2. I should have made the beginning more motivating then to get you all the way through 😉

  3. A Random Guy says:

    First Step: Get Motivated

    You really want a change in your habits, don’t you? I know that you have that will because if you don’t, you won’t ever bother scanning this article in this first place. Try your best. Tell yourself you really need this. Once you’ve done that, proceed to step 2 in the post and so on.

    Good luck

  4. Rafael Hernampérez says:

    I love this post, because, sometimes, I am some lazy :) and I need some motivation to overcoming it. Thanks a lot.

  5. Yeah you’re right, it’s all about our motivation. It starts in our mind :)

  6. The Emotion Machine says:

    Start now, start small. :)

  7. The Emotion Machine says:

    First step: stop identifying yourself as a “lazy person.”

  8. Dan Erickson says:

    Sometimes I wish I could be lazy again. You’re right, it’s a habit and we must develop other habits to take its place. But then you wind up being overwhelmed and too busy at times. The key is to find the balance.

  9. I think the lazy person with clever brain could be better than who work herder without thinking of what should do. And such a kind of person could manage problems.
    No matter to be lazy. Concerned about results and make someone do is the most effective way to do something.

  10. Yeah, very good comment Dan! Do you have any insights on how to to find the balance and avoid getting stressed out?

  11. I was jut being lazy with my project when this came up in my twitter feed. The second step is particularly cool. I never attempted to employ imaginary urgency, but that may just work. Thanks for the great article!

  12. Miss Rue says:

    This article has touched me. I have so much potential and have never used it due to lack of motivation and guidance. A wasted youth. Time to pull myself together.

  13. Dan Erickson says:

    I try to make every other weekend complete down time.

  14. I’m glad it’s useful Antonio! And I have found that this way of thinking can be really helpful. So if you don’t feel the urgency, just pretend that you do 😉

    Same with happiness, if you don’t feel happy, pretend that you do and see how your body changes.

  15. I’m glad! And there’s no need to ponder about the past, just start from this very moment.

  16. That’s completely true with happiness. It’s so much more a chosen state of mind, within, rather than an outside factor. Though my will to remain happy is constantly tested haha :)

  17. Natalie says:

    I am not a morning person. I don’t start really functioning on all cylinders until noon.The habit I had to overcome was thinking that the day was over too early. I can get a lot of stuff done after 8:00PM as long as I’m not thinking it’s time for bed but time to be productive. I remind myself that If I work, I will feel good when I go to bed instead of guilty.

    The artificial urgency is a new one on me. I think it is a good one. Thanks!

  18. Charm says:

    great post! very inspirational :) thank you

  19. Andrew Freed says:

    I have really been lazy lately and need to break out of the habit. This post really helps.

  20. Mary Slagel says:

    I have felt like the laziest person in the world lately so this definitely relevant to my life right now. I like the four step process you suggested.

  21. Laura Leigh Clarke says:

    Great post Matthew. I *love* the way you break it down into simple do-able steps. Great concept with the “awesome activity”, most productive hours and feeding it back.

    What about aligning with something that is really important to you too. Like perhaps your passion, or something that you can work and build towards?

  22. papelucho says:

    I rather die lazy than overworked !

  23. Kristian Cooper says:

    I’ve been lazy for so long and it’s the seems impossible to break this habit. This post gives some great advice and has got me motivated to nip my laziness in the bud. Thanks a bunch!

  24. Vonnie says:

    It’s taken me years to figure out that, yes, I’m a lazy person, but I have to add that’s its in body, not in mind. I would work for 3 hours and then think I needed a nap. Even though, my eyes were sore from being on the computer too long or I had muscles aches from some sort of physical work, I couldn’t sleep because my mind was coming up with all these great ideas to write about. It would happen at night, too, then I’d wake up in the morning groggy and miserable. So all morning, I would think about how much I needed a nap.

    I’ve decided that resting is not the answer for getting motivating or to beat laziness. As you say, “It’s a habit.” I was addicted to napping!

    In the last few months, I’ve been pushing myself past the sleepiness in the morning and the 3 pm naps by keeping myself busy with something that’s interesting and not boring.

    I’m still not motivated to jump up and do a workout routine (as much as I know I should), but I find that turning on lively, danceable music first thing in the morning gets me going. That, and a cup of coffee will wake up the mind and body if you make it a habit.

    Great post, Matthew. Keep ‘em coming. ☺

  25. 4Change says:

    A random Google site lead me to this post and I think I have a lot of work to do now.
    Thank you Matthew

  26. Pingback: The Lazy Person’s Guide to Not Being Lazy - 80Words

  27. Glenn Consulta says:

    Sorry I got lazy reading bit I get the essential points though.
    Thanks a lot , now I’m intrinsically motivated and feeling urgent to succeed :))

  28. Pingback: The Lazy Person's Guide to Not Being So Lazy - Lifehack

  29. Brosix says:

    One thing that helps me is if I do the one thing I hate first, so it’s out of the way. (Lesson learned from Brian Tracy’s “Eat that Frog”

  30. mel says:

    Thank you.

  31. Rapa says:

    i feel that i’m too lazy to finish anythi

  32. MajorPlupe says:

    I lack motivation to the point where my life is on hold. Im going to try this starting now!

  33. Shantal Remekie says:

    this is just awesome, I’m going to try and ill definitely tell you if it works.

  34. Piru vai says:

    Tank you very very much

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