You’re driven. You’re determined. And yet, you’re stuck on the couch. Not doing all those things you know you probably should be doing if you just weren’t so damn cozy. You’re feeling lazy and are now wondering what you can do to break the cycle; wondering how to stop being lazy and start being productive.
Everyone finds themself in a lazy loop every once and awhile.
So, what does lazy look like for myself? I’ll paint a picture for you.
It’s the weekend. Sunday. Early afternoon. Around 2:30 PM. It’s post-lunch, pre-dinner and I’m plopped on the couch, immobile. Not moving. Maybe there’s a show on the TV that I don’t care about. Maybe I’m watching a video on my phone that I’m indifferent towards.
I have a few things that I need to get done today and I’m not doing any of it.
It’s not that I’m putting it off or procrastinating. It’s more like… this couch is so comfortable I may never move again.
And there I am, sitting on that couch, being lazy.
The problem with laziness
Laziness for most people isn’t a big deal. If they waste an hour or two on nothingness, oh well, there’s always tomorrow.
We’re not most people though.
You and I are strivers. We actively work towards creating a better tomorrow and because of that, we have a lot on our plates.
So accidentally wasting an hour through sheer laziness when our schedule demands clock-like precision will only cause headaches and frustration for everyone involved. It’s not procrastination that I’m talking about (more on that below), it’s laziness.
It’s being idle for no reason. Not resting, just… nothingness.
How to stop being lazy – one thing in particular
You know, it’s odd.
I’m never lazy during the week. Even when I’m running low on sleep or have a lot of daunting tasks to work on, I’m always moving, always pushing forward. But for some reason, on certain days, normally during the weekend, I am glued to the couch and can’t move.
What gives? Am I tired? Burnt out? Need a break?
But more than likely my laziness is due to one thing in particular… physics.
In particular, Newton’s first law of motion.
A body at rest
Newton’s first law of motion states that:
“An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless a force acts upon it. An object that is in motion will not change its velocity unless a force acts upon it.”
Another way you may have heard this put is that:
A body at rest will stay at rest. A body in motion will stay in motion.
Now, what does that have to do with your laziness at any given time? A lot, actually. Because when you are experiencing laziness, when you just can’t seem to muster the strength to close out of Instagram and go about your tasks for the day, you are experiencing Newton’s first law of motion.
You are a body at rest.
And being a body at rest, you will continue to stay at rest until something changes.
A body in motion
Consider this: when you’re moving about your day and getting stuff done, you’re not being lazy. You’re going from one task to another. Navigating your day like a productivity pro.
Laziness is the last thing on your mind, right?
You are a body in motion. And because you are in motion, you have inertia. You have momentum at your back, pushing you forward from one project to the next. Like a giant wheel, turning, moving you forward.
You are a body in motion and, just like with rest, you will stay in that state until something changes.
How to stop being lazy – use the first law
Whether you want to know how to stop being lazy at home or how to stop being lazy at work, you can use Newton’s first law to your advantage.
Recognize that once you get the wheel moving and start building some momentum, you will have the energy to power through whatever tasks are on your list. You just need to figure out what it will take to start up the wheel.
In other words, you need to figure out what one action you can take that will lift you out of your rest state and into one of motion.
For me, that looks like one of two things. I either:
- Put on some uplifting/motivating music
- Choose a super simple task that requires me to stand up to complete it
Let inertia do its thing
The music I put on is the kind that gets me excited and energized. Normally, that’ll do the trick and give me the initial juice I need to get the wheel turning.
Other times I will assign myself a very simple, very basic task that takes maybe a minute to complete, but will get me off the couch. For example, I’ll bring a plate from the table into the kitchen or I’ll water a plant.
Something incredibly easy that will transform my rest state into a motion state.
Then once I’m in that motion state, once I’m off the couch, I let inertia do its thing. I’m in motion and will work through my to-do’s with physics pushing me forward.
*By the way, if you’re struggling with how to stop being lazy and exercise instead of lounging around, putting on some exciting music is an easy way to get yourself into a motion state. Fun music leads to light dancing leads to full blown dancing leads to putting on those running shoes leads to exercise.
Change your state
In your own life then, consider what you can do to change your state when you’re being lazy. To get you moving so that the wheel of momentum starts turning.
That could be:
- Making a list
- Following my lead and putting on some fun music
- Doing a simple task
- Reading an uplifting quote
- Watching an inspiring video, etc.
Experiment with different ways to get yourself into a state of motion. The tiniest of tasks, the simplest of actions will start the wheel and get you off the sofa.
Now, that’s all well and good when you’re being lazy at home. You can just give yourself an action that requires you to stand up and then you’re golden.
But what about when you’re at the office?
What about those times when you’re staring at some video on YouTube instead of getting work done? It’s a little trickier, but you can still apply Newton’s first law.
Be careful though
If you’re being lazy at the laptop, getting into a state of physical motion may not be particularly helpful, but you can get into a state of mental motion. Again, it’s just about starting the wheel of momentum.
That could look like responding to a simple email or getting back to a co-worker on Slack.
Something easy that will take you out of your rest state and back into one of motion.
You’ll want to be careful though. There’s a difference between being lazy and procrastinating and if you’re working in an office it can be hard to distinguish between the two.
- Being lazy is knowing what you need to do, but not doing it because you’d rather be idle and do nothing.
- Procrastinating, on the other hand, means you know what you should be doing but delay doing it because it’s hard and you’d rather do something easier.
If you’re procrastinating, choosing an easy task to work on won’t solve your problems. If you’re being lazy though, doing something easy, no matter how small, will help you get moving again and back into a state of motion.
How to stop being lazy – don’t sit down!
Once you’re in motion, you will continue to stay in motion with ease. You will have momentum and will power through whatever it is you need to be doing.
But, as I touched on above, you will only stay in motion until something changes.
And in this case, that something is a little voice inside you saying take a break.
Normally, I’m a big fan of breaks. I see it like a warning system. If you feel like you need to take a break, it’s your body or mind telling you to rest for a few minutes so that you can recharge.
That’s not good advice when you’re being lazy though. When you’re being lazy, that voice is trying to trick you. Trying to lure you back into your lazy ways.
Don’t listen to it!
If you’ve worked up the strength to get off the literal or metaphorical couch, don’t sit back down until everything is done that you need to get done. Because as soon as you sit down, your state will change from one of motion back into one of rest and you’ll have to start turning the wheel all over again.
How to stop being lazy moving forward
Next time you’re being lazy, think of Newton and his first law of motion: a body at rest will stay at rest, a body in motion will stay in motion.
With that in mind, consider what you can do to change your state from one of rest into one of motion. Put on some energizing music, give yourself an easy task to complete, read a powerful quote. Do something that will take you off the couch and into the world.
Then, once your wheel of momentum is turning at full force, don’t sit down! Keep tackling your tasks one after another until you’re content and ready to go back into your state of rest.
Stop being lazy and start using physics to help you do more than ever before.