How To Stop Being Lazy (Even When It Feels Like There's Nothing To Do)

How To Stop Being Lazy (Even When It Feels Like There's Nothing To Do)
Family, Self

If I had a dime for every time any of my clients told me they were lazy and asked me how to stop their behavior during the last twenty-five years of my practice…well… you know how my sentence ends. However, if I told you how many times I heard it, during COVID 19, I would need to share my many dimes with you!

So what is the meaning of lazy when we look it up? Google tells us the following: Lazy means unwilling to work or use energy.

To me, the keyword on the definition is unwilling. Someone indolent will have no interest in fixing themselves or the situation. They might feel content with their dishing out in everyday life. Or they might even believe they are doing too much.

Before going any further into how to stop laziness, let me disclose my personal beliefs about the words lazy and laziness. Honestly, I hate them both! Why? Calling someone lazy rarely does anything constructive for the person. So if you are telling yourself deficient for the amount of work doing these days, think again, and let's see what is going on with you.

We have established that chances are you are not a sloth as in one of the seven capital sins according to Christian teachings. If you are, please make sure you contribute more, especially if you are part of a couple or a family member. Being inert, just because you are comfortable with others doing for you is not cool.

For the rest of the people who are asking help with feeling lethargic and languorous, I would like to remind them that the quarantine has put our lives upside down. Some feel amiss without routines. Without them, they do not know how to act or be. Others have lost their jobs and are depressed. Others still are trying to find a rhythm in this new every day that is so weird to many.

My suggestions are for you to think of the following, and act accordingly. Ask yourself these 7 questions:

  1. If you are lazy, see who are you using and abusing?
  2. Are you taking a break because you are a Type AAA +personality and feel exhausted?
  3. Are you unmotivated because of the current situation with COVID 19?
  4. Are you scared of the future?
  5. Do you feel the only pleasure you get these days comes from your Netflix screen?
  6. Can you envision what will happen after COVID 19?
  7. Do you have a post-COVID-19 plan?

So... What to Do Then, to Feel Productive, Even When There is Nothing to Do?

First of all, answer the above questions. If you answer YES to questions 2-3-4-5 and NO to question 6 and 7, you may be suffering from a touch of anxiety or depression. 
Stop criticizing yourself. In these cases, less pressure instead of more may work better.

Seek help. You might want to see a therapist who understands laziness is not the real issue. What you call laziness may stem from ADD, procrastination, the need to be perfect, from fear of not doing enough, from depression or anxiety.

Till you see a professional, you may help yourself by coming up with one or two chores to do a day (not twenty).

Give yourself a schedule when you will do them.
Think of a reward after doing your chore (that screen time, for instance).

Remember that 'when there is nothing to do' is a time to figure out what you want to do.

Feeling shift-less or work shy, if it is not your usual default way of being in the world, may mean that you are out of sorts. But it may also be an opportunity to think about the future you want. A future filled with productivity and meaningful life. 

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Iréné Celcer is a psychotherapist and an author working and living in Atlanta GA, USA, and in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more information, visit her website.