Are You Being Lazy?

December 28, 2010 by  
Filed under personal development

Today’s topic comes from Annabel Candy, via a comment she left on the Motivated Sista Page on Facebook. “What is the difference between procrastination and laziness?!” she asked. I had to think about that for a moment… because honestly, its really easy to say you’re ‘just procrastinating’ when really, you’re being lazy!

We’ve all been guilty of it too. As motivated as I am to reach for the stars, honestly, sometimes I just can’t. Or I just don’t feel like it. Or I’m tired. But fatigue is much different than caving into our feelings, and allowing how we feel to dictate our actions. We live in a society that has accepted procrastination as a normal part of the work flow, yet we don’t really acknowledge that our minds and bodies need periodic breaks from working hard.

Its not really sufficient to take 14 days out of a year to rest yourself. And I know alot of people who take ‘staycations’ during that time, and get work done around the house and other errands. That’s not really a break, vacation or rest from anything.

Constantly wearing your mind and body down leads to the place where you don’t want to get much of anything done. Before you know it, you keep putting things off, then working frantically to meet deadlines. Its an unhealthy cycle that can be avoided with a little mental toughness and planning.

Are You Being Lazy?

Before you start beating up on yourself, make sure what you’re feeling is not actually fatigue. Our society is structured in a way that doesn’t really promote periodic rest periods. But if you’re grinding steadily on your goals, its important to give yourself down time to refresh your mind and rejuvenate your spirit.

After that question is out of the way, the easiest way to tell if you’re being lazy is to figure out what your intentions are. If you’re trying to avoid the task altogether then you’re probably being lazy. Lazy people question why they need to act and bemoan the fact that they have to do what they have to do. In other words, they make excuses and allow their emotions to dictate their actions (i.e. “I don’t want to do it”).

On the other hand, procrastination is a temporary avoidance tactic. I find that I procrastinate out of a twisted sense of perfectionism: if I can’t do something perfectly, then I don’t want to do it. I recognize that I must still complete the task but I’m reluctant to put my name on anything that’s not ‘perfect’. What that really means is, I can’t do it within the vision of how it should go. I’m working on that habit because I fully recognize that things can’t always go how I envision them to.

How To Beat Procrastination

One of the breakthroughs I’ve had lately is that it’s ok to be lazy sometimes. What I think is laziness is usually fatigue or mental burnout. But in those times where I have energy, I’m inspired, focused and motivated, I make myself handle as much as I can. Getting things done ahead of time is one of the best cures for procrastination. That way, I’m not scrambling around trying to finish something at the last minute – when things are done ahead of time I can allow myself to be lazy, because my work is done.

Another way to beat procrastination is to get into the habit of performing tasks every day. Steady work toward a goal is one way to stop yourself from putting it off. If you assign yourself something small and constantly overdeliver, you’re sure to train yourself to stay ahead of your deadlines.

How do you beat procrastination and laziness? I’d love to read your comments on this topic.

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4 Responses to “Are You Being Lazy?”
  1. Galen Pearl says:

    That is an interesting question! My first thought was to wonder whether the difference really matters. Either way, you don’t want to do something you think you should be doing. But I understand what you are saying about fatigue. Maybe the way to tell the difference is that with fatigue you don’t really want to do anything. If you are procrastinating, you might have plenty of energy, but you don’t want to use your energy for the task at hand.

    If I have something I really have to get done, but I’m not a motivated sista (couldn’t resist), I try exactly what you suggest. Break it down into small pieces, get it done early, and promise myself a big reward at the end!
    Galen Pearl recently posted: Preparing the Ground

  2. I completely agree with you Galen. I feel I am being lazy when I’m just sitting around with no desire to do anything productive or mentally stimulating. It would make sense that fatigue could be the reason why I would feel this way. When I am procrastinating, I have plenty of work to do and I’m doing it. There are just certain tasks that I prefer not to do at the moment and so I put them off until later. In the line of work that I’m in, sometimes procrastination is unavoidable. If you are managing multiple projects and several deliverables are due, you have to prioritize and some tasks are going to have to wait.

    Thanks for the post!

    • Anilia says:

      you’re welcome Lavada. And I hate to say this out loud, but what’s the worst that can happen if you miss a deadline? Sometimes we drive ourselves crazy by things like deadlines, when its not the end of the world and it would cause us alot less stress to not constantly think about it.

  3. Penelope J. says:

    I certainly agree that fatigue can play an important part in being either lazy or being a procrastinator. We all need some down time and sometimes, we just need to take time off in what may be perceived as less productive areas such as reading, meeting with friends, etc. but these also hold an important place in our lives.

    For me, being lazy is just that, deliberately wasting time that could be spent more productively. However, being lazy is part of life and that’s why we have weekends or moments when we can simply lie back and enjoy our favorite TV shows.

    Procrastination usually takes the form of not doing something that we dislike doing but should be done and doing something else instead e.g. I may put off revising a chapter in my book to write something new instead. Doesn’t mean I won’t eventually get around to it. Remember that procrastinators are usually great last-minute achievers.

    There’s nothing unusual or wrong about being lazy or being a procrastinator as long as we don’t overdo either of them.
    Penelope J. recently posted: Happy Holidays – See You or Me in the New Year

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