12 Ways to Stop Being Lazy and Get Your Semester Back On Track
How do you stop being lazy once you’ve hit that mid-semester malaise and just don’t have the enthusiasm to do this anymore? Hey, it happens to all of us at some point. Acknowledging that is part of the way back to productivity.
Aside from that, you need some clear strategies for how you can defeat the laziness and get back to handling your business. In this article, we’ll be discussing 12 tips, in particular, that will help you gain control over the desire to do nothing, and to start making something special of your life. Let’s get started!
1. Set Realistic Goals
The first step to take if your goal is to stop being lazy is to stop making your work insurmountable. You know your bandwidth. It’s not that you can’t accomplish everything being asked of you. It just might not be doable within a certain timeframe.
At least, it isn’t without the proper planning. Your objective when facing an assignment is to break it down into as many parts as you can. Each of those goals is something you can accomplish. From there, it’s just a matter of using your time wisely and tracking your milestones.
Setting realistic goals doesn’t have to be a fixed thing either. In fact, it better not be! As you learn, you’ll become more capable of bigger goals in faster amounts of time. So, start where you are. Try to grow your successes from there.
2. Tackle Your Hardest Thing First
This has been called many things by many people way smarter than us. One easy way to remember it is as the “eat the frog” method. We can probably all agree that eating a frog, at least un-breaded and deep-fried, would fail to top the list of most pleasant experiences.
It’s something that breeds fear and intimidation. The idea of it looming over your head can put a real drain on your energy. That’s what makes the early part of your day the best time to do it!
By choosing to eat the frog, or start with your hardest thing first, two things happen. First off, you use the best of your abilities on the challenge that requires the most of them. Secondly, you’ll accomplish more than you thought possible. As a result, that can be quite energizing to the rest of your day.
3. Work When You Don’t Feel Like It
The problem with waiting until you feel like it to do something you would rather not is this. You’ll never get to it! Or, at best, you’ll get to it too late. Way after you’ve waited enough time to where you can no longer learn and share and grow.
The best time to do anything is when you don’t feel like it. You might find it unpleasant at first, but it’s the only thing that enables you to get into the right mindset. And the right mindset is to realize you can’t sit around waiting for someone else to do the work.
4. Keep Good Company
Another way to stop being lazy is to stop spending so much time with lazy people. Creating a tribe that helps you stay focused on the right things will keep you on a positive track. Not doing so will result in the exact opposite.
That’s not to say that you should disassociate yourself with people who fail to use their time wisely. It just means that you’ve got to learn when and where to spend those hours for catching up. When you have school or work obligations, take special care not to fall under their influence.
The same goes for anyone that you work on group projects with. Avoid individuals who cause you to do double the work. If someone is not pulling their weight in your group, put them on notice. If that doesn’t work, go to your instructor. The further up you go in your educational career, the less time you’ll have to babysit others.
5. Prioritize Fitness
The connection between mind and body is well-established. Our brains work better when our bodies do. The simple act of going for a brisk walk can charge up the brain in ways that defeat laziness altogether. However, it can be pretty tough getting started.
What do you do if you just don’t see yourself as the “working out” type? The first step is to get a handle on just how active (or inactive) that you are. Wearing a FitBit or installing a movement tracker on your phone will give you a data-driven reading on where you are.
Once you know where you are, it’s time to start being mindful of how you can do better. Start by just trying to move 100 steps more than you’re accustomed to each day. Gradually, you’ll be improving activity levels and building a healthy habit of exercise. Over time, you’ll be capable and willing to take on more.
6. Strike the Idea of Perfection
Some people use the phrase, “I’m a perfectionist” as an excuse to never get started. They can’t stop being lazy because, if they did, they’d have to make everything perfect. But here’s the thing: perfection is impossible, and no one can be perfect.
Not even so-called “perfectionists.” So, if you’re using that excuse to keep yourself from getting started on projects that need to get done, it’s time to stop. Realize that flawed effort is better than actionless perfection any day of the week.
It at least gets projects done. And “done” is one thing that we all have to accomplish if we plan on being a productive student and member of society.
7. Play to Your Strengths
What are the things that you do really well? Having a clear idea of your skills and knowledge strengths will give you a great place to start for overcoming laziness and procrastination. Even if you’re dealing with a subject or content area, where you feel lost, this is a good method for getting started.
This is where things called “soft skills” come in handy. They help you take stock of what you know, what you don’t know, what you’ll need to accomplish by certain dates, and where to look for the best resources and outside help. Think about great leaders. Great leaders aren’t considered “great” because they’re proficient at everything.
However, they win favor in the eyes of the public by the teams they’re able to assemble, the vision and strategies they’re able to employ. Consider that as you’re making a list of your strengths, and you could find yourself accomplishing more in subjects that you never thought you’d be able to master.
8. Take Stock of Your Successes
We had considered not putting this on the list. After all, too much patting yourself on the back can lead to spending all your time doing that instead of continuing with the work that you need to do. It can be as paralyzing as being too intimidated to start.
However, it can also serve as a great morale booster when you’re in the throes of a challenge. Looking at how far you’ve come, even if it’s just for a moment to appreciate the progress, leads to more progress. You’ve just got to find the balance. (And, of course, keep working!)
9. Find Ways to Have Fun
Work and studying do not have to be miserable. You can find ways of mastering the psychology of it. That’s true even if you would rather be doing something else. It starts by breaking your work up into smaller chunks.
From there, use those periods of time in between to handle something fun. It could be an update to your Farmville or another round of the multiplayer Chess Game on your phone. It could be a short walk while listening to an audiobook. Make a list of things that you enjoy doing that are easy to pick up and set down for a few moments.
Giving yourself little things to look forward to is a good strategy to stop being lazy. However, you can also bring others into your fun. Two heads are better than one, after all. There is no one right way to do it.
10. Bribe Yourself
This is kind of related to No. 9 but not really. The rewards we mention above are meant to recharge your batteries after a brief period of deep-focused work. They’re not meant to take you away from your work for very long.
Bribing yourself, on the other hand, means treating yourself to something that you really enjoy after the work sessions are done for the day. It could mean a shopping spree or simply buying a coffee at a Starbucks. It’s a way of bookending your work and saying, “Good job!”
Obviously, you’ll want to be careful with how you go about doing this. Money doesn’t bring happiness, but the absence of it doesn’t either. When you spend more money than you can afford to spend, this can create a lot more problems down the road. Make sure that any “bribes” you give yourself are within reason.
11. Plan Before You Start
A well-conceived plan is the key to establishing and maintaining progress. The ability to look at the outcome you want and reverse-engineer it will help you in this regard.
You have to see how one action leads into another. This gives you the ability to properly sequence a project. With the right sequence in place, it’s easier to use the time you have ahead of you to plan everything out so you’re not playing catch-up at the end.
Handle all this as you begin. The plan may change as you go, but you’ll never know where the right milestones are until you get it all down in some form of visual way.
12. Check In and Adjust As Needed
The visual component to your plan is vital. This gives you the opportunity to pause and make adjustments as necessary. (Yes, it’s okay if you adjust things as you go. In fact, you should!)
Without adjustments, you won’t know what the task truly calls for at the right moment. You also won’t be able to backpedal and figure out where you went wrong and what might need to be fixed before you proceed. Whether you enjoy writing things out by hand, mind-mapping, or using a specialty app on your phone or computer, find a way to track, monitor, and adjust.
When You Stop Being Lazy, You Control Your Destiny
The decision to stop being lazy is one that only you can decide. And while it may seem like it’s no big deal to sit around and get to something later, every little moment controls the possibility of your success. By winning each moment, you will find yourself much further ahead in your life plans than you thought possible.
But it takes mindfulness. It takes awareness of the ways you’re wasting your time. And it takes a firm handle on your strengths and weaknesses. Good luck as you finish your semester strong!
[Featured Image by Pixabay Creative Commons License]