11 Practical Ways To Jump Out Of A Lazy Rut

11 Practical Ways To Jump Out Of A Lazy Rut

For one reason or another, we’ve all been stuck in a lazy rut. From productivity guru to average-joe, we’ve all faced our share of down time. Ever since I came back from Israel I’ve been feeling pretty lazy, and just thinking about not being lazy hasn’t fixed the problem.

Laziness is ultimately caused by a fault in our thinking. A great article would dissect this fault and provide a quick-fix. This could effectively launch the earth into a new age of productivity.

I have no quick fix – I’m not THAT good – so you’ll have to settle for some practical techniques to dig yourself out of your own lazy ruts. It will take some work on your part, but I’m sure that whatever works for me can work for you too.

I will act now. I will act now. I will act now. Henceforth, I will repeat these words each hour, each day, everyday, until the words become as much a habit as my breathing, and the action which follows becomes as instinctive as the blinking of my eyelids. With these words I can condition my mind to perform every action necessary for my success. I will act now. I will repeat these words again and again and again. I will walk where failures fear to walk. I will work when failures seek rest. I will act now for now is all I have. Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy. I am not lazy. Tomorrow is the day when the failure will succeed. I am not a failure. I will act now. Success will not wait. If I delay, success will become wed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time. This is the place. I am the person.
~Og Mandino

11 Practical Ways To Jump Out Of A Lazy Rut

1. Start Somewhere, Anywhere. We can think of the discipline muscle as a strong pillar. Metaphorically speaking, if this muscle is big and tall it will serve as a Pantheon of productivity. Pick any one of the ideas below, or any one of your own ideas, and get started!

If you follow the action consistently for 30 days, you will build a habit. Once you’re in the “habit of making habits” you’ll be able to build new ones. Maintaining takes much less energy than starting, so you can keep on adding on new habits to your “habit-happy” life.

2. Self-actualize, Be Conscious. This happens to be the most important point in the article. Think. By questioning your source, reasons, and intentions, you are able to transcend whatever obstacle you find in your way.

When you sit down and think you’ll discover all the wonderful things that make you feel passionate, and fulfilled. This will inevitably lead you to launch yourself into life — to live!

3. Improve Exercise Antics. Exercising on vacation is not so easy {convenient excuse}. During my 2 weeks away in Israel I didn’t exercise, and felt too jet-lagged and dehydrated the week after my return to get back into the routine. This turned into another week. The thought of returning to the gym, and running, while feeling out of shape is a bit daunting.

Sometimes I find myself laying in bed, just listening to audio books on my iPhone. Big mistake. The simple hack is to take that one hour, go outside with my iPhone and just walk around the neighborhood. A brisk walk will get my blood flowing, heart pumping, and my body rejuvenated by the time the one hour is up. At an hour per day it more than fulfills my weekly walking requirement as well as enhances my personal growth.

4. Engage In House Cleaning. We all get to the point where we let our house go a bit past, okay- way past, the point of being perfectly clean. This makes me feel a bit guilty because I know that one of the keys to a clear mind is a clean home and workplace. It gets to the point where the cleaning job will either demand a lot of time, or force you to move out.

If you’ve slipped in the clean-as-you go process, you can use the 15 minute rule to get out of your rut. Pick a room, and designate just 15 minutes to clean something up (i.e. just the desk, just the closet, just the floors). Use up all 15 minutes and continue the next day. In the mean time clean as you go and you’ll find a clean room within about a week.

5. Cultivate Reading Habits. It’s a sad fact that most Americans don’t read. One of the reasons I started this site is to cater to such people. My sentiments were that reading a full book, and compressing the gems into a 10 minute read, can be convenient for even the most modest of readers. Incidentally, after running this site for this long, I’ve come to realize that you guys are in the upper echelons of intelligence and do spend a nice chunk of time reading. I feel like you can relate when I say that falling off the reading wagon is a commonly occurring disaster.

The best thing to do with a dropped habit is to get back into it slowly. It’s not about quantity at this point, but about forging a life-long positive habit. All you need is to dedicate 15 minutes, as soon as you wake up, each and every morning. This is when you’ll be most alert to read, which you can do by waking up 15 minutes early. Commit to just 30 days of 15 minute mornings, and eventually expand the hours if you like the new habit.

6. Get Back On Track With Writing. In the creation of this site I have made a 180 turn in my thoughts about writing. It used to be a painful chore, but that’s before I realized what I’m passionate about writing. Now I love writing for this site, and the other sites where I freelance. After all, I only delivered 1 article last week, and it wasn’t due to lack of time or lack of material.

The technique that works best for me is scheduling a writing time the night before. When I set aside 2 hours in a day, I’m able to write anywhere between 1-4 articles. If it’s more than 1, I can give it away, or set it for a future date. However, I need to make sure I’m in the habit of getting back the next day to do some more writing, or else the lazy bug will slip up on me.

7. Hydrate For Productivity. One of the things that I’ve found to be continuously daunting is the reappearance of dehydration. This beast works in such subtle ways that I never experience a thirst, but only consider that it could be a possible problem after it’s taken its course.

Drinking 2 liters of water a day gets every atom of my body resonating and jumping with energy. Not 2 liters of soda, not coffee, and certainly not 2 liters of juice. It must be water, and I think many people underestimate how much they need and the mere fact that this could be at the root of their lack of productivity.

8. End Over-Sleeping. Sleeping is a monster that uses catch-22 to attack our productivity. The more you sleep, the lazier you are. The lazier you are, the more you sleep. By applying a couple of standardized rules in the form of habits we’re able to break out of this sloth-like cycle.

First, when you hear the morning alarm, and before you lay there and question yourself, jump right out of bed! Walk over to the sink, wash your face with cold water and immediately bring yourself to your schedule or to-do list. Need an afternoon nap? Set your alarm for 20 minutes and do not allow yourself to sleep more than this optimal time under any circumstances.


9. Don’t Eat Lazy Food. Have you noticed that with laziness comes bad food choices that are high in fats, sugars, and processed carbs? No? Is it just me? Maybe with bad food choices comes laziness, which is also very feasible.

One of the things that helps me break the cycle is placing some rules on the table. No eating 4 hours before bed, unless it’s a piece of fruit. Using fruits and vegetables as the only snacks between meals. Having vegetables be the entree of my meals, no the side dish. Eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day to avoid lethargy. Healthy food gives you more energy, which is one sure-fire way to get out of the lazy hole.

10. Simplify Your Life. Being overwhelmed is a very viable reason for why we might find ourselves in a lazy rut. It’s not our fault per se, but our environment and the world around us makes things way more complicated than they have to be. Think about it, extensive filing systems like GTD require months to learn, just so you can figure out what to do today. Cars come with 5 billion features that will warm your coffee, massage your butt, and orchestrate a bank job if you punch in the right keys.

They even put peanut butter and jelly into the same jar, which I’ll never understand. Your mission — simplify. When you take away as many unnecessary layers and distractions, your mind will be clutter free and excited at the opportunity to tackle what’s important.

11. Embrace Your Laziness. Consider for a moment that you’re run-down. Physically, emotionally, or spiritually you’re experiencing a leak in your battery that’s leaving you sluggish throughout the day. That’s both understandable and reasonable.

Put up the white flag, go to sleep, get hydrated, eat some healthy food, go for a sweaty run and refer to number 2 — think. Perhaps you know what the problem is, but something tells me that if you stand in front of the mirror and look yourself in the eyes for 10 minutes, a little voice will come out and tell you exactly what’s wrong — fix it.

“A person is lazy because he wants serenity and quiet. Comfort-seeking is the root of laziness. But realize that although the lazy way might at first appear to give comfort, in the long run, a person who is lazy will lose greatness. Why? His life will be one of mediocrity!”
~Rabbi Pliskin

If you enjoy this article please vote for it on StumbleUpon and Digg.com. I’d appreciate it!

Share your number one cause of laziness in the comments below.

Posted by in Productivity | July 31, 2008 | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumble | Print | 25 comments

  • http://ourbestversion.com Ari Koinuma

    Hey — I have one more to add. Listen to music! Not just any music — productive music. Something with a beat and energy will get me going in no time.


  • http://www.successprofessor.ca Success Professor

    Very good article. I will have to put this aside and pull it out next time I am tempted to have a lazy spell.

    One other thing that I would add. A lot of times, we feel lazy because the tasks in front of us seem to large. Getting started can be the hardest thing. When this happens just commit to one hour. Tell yourself that you only need to work on the project for one hour today. After one hour you can stop. A couple of things will happen. #1 – you likely will get more done in that hour than you think you will. #2 – you may just get enough momentum that you will want to keep going.

    • Vikki Majors

      Excellent idea Success Professor! I implore the same concept, but just a step down, and only do a task for a half hour. A half hour doesn’t seem like a long time at all, which it isn’t, but it does give me the encouragement and excitement to do work on that project the next day. Great input!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewishowes Lewis


    It is always good to readjust our thinking when lazy thoughts creep in. The first step is being aware of the lazy actions, then figuring out a game plan. This post gives us all a great place to start.


  • http://www.lolafayemi.com Lola Fayemi / Nourishment for your spiritual awakening

    Hey Alex

    Good to see you back! Getting back on track after a holiday can feel tough but these are some great tips, I especially like no.10 simplify your life.

    Something that works for me is to remember that I am always creating even when I am not actively “doing” anything and that if I feel I am being lazy, then I am in judgement of myself and being hard in myself which only makes my “laziness” last longer.

    Feeling lazy is is just downtime with guilt so losing the guilt allows you to be more open to the lesson or healing opportunity of the situation.

    Oooh I feel inspired to write something along the same lines now!

    In love, light and abundance x x x

  • http://solapurnews.blogspot.com paresh

    nice list, thanks for sharing

  • http://healpain.blogspot.com Jenny Mannion

    Hi Alex, GREAT post and list! Yep, I’ve been there… I’d also add under-sleeping…. When I get too little sleep I kind of walk around in this daze and never quite get my groove… 6 hours is all I need to feel refreshed and be ready for the day. I’m with you on the dehydration….. I seem to go through my phases with remembering to drink water and not — luckily I don’t like soda or juice too much so water is my best option. My husband is at a desk all day so I got him a 74 oz. water jug that he fills at the beginning of the day and keeps with him to know if he’s drank enough during the day… think I will have to pick one up for myself! Some wonderful practical tips Alex – thank you! Jenny

  • uwoluwu

    no matter what it is that you do, at times you just fell you had enough and you just have to take a beak… this is inevitable in every aspect of life… the problem is (for me at least) that i take breaks by doing the exact opposite of the good habit I’m taking the break from … so instead of doing sport I’m sleeping and instead of working I’m watching TV (too much that is), etc…
    so… I’ll just have to think of good habits to do during breaks … things that will enrich my life and free my mind of stress and “inside the box” kind of thinking 🙂 … hmm…

  • http://www.bluenoser.net/ Jeff

    This is a great post. I have found that I am sleeping a lot more than I used to. Almost 8.5 hours, so I am going to use a few of his tips to see if I can start getting more done. Then I will have more time to make money and get to the gym

  • http://www.expressyourselftosuccess.com Laurie

    Eating lazy food is my weakness – and it makes me lazier because it gives no energy. I tell myself that I eat it because I’m too busy and don’t have time to make anything. Excuses! It’s easier to grab an apple than open a bag of chips. However, like you I have rules – mine is that breakfast and lunch have to be really healthy so at least I’ll have energy during the day.

    Good advice on keeping hydrated; I’ll keep that in mind.

  • http://illuminatedmind.net Jonathan Mead

    I often find I’m the most lazy when I’m trying to resist my natural rhythms. I’m trying to force myself to do something I don’t really want to do.

    I especially liked your last point about embracing your laziness. It’s important to recharge the batteries.

  • http://www.faceyourfork.com Matt @ Face Your Fork

    Carbs are a lazy man’s food?! Oh no! 🙁

    Seriously speaking, I think diet can be the #1 main contributor to laziness. Eat a crappy diet, you feel crappy; that leads into feelings of being lethargic and getting nothing substantial done. I especially notice this when I eat junk foods, especially foods high in fat. (Carbs generally don’t effect me much unless that’s the only thing I eat the entire day.)

    Although I disagree with you about drinking 2 liters of water a day – 2 liters of coffee a day certainly fulfills my water requirements for me!

  • http://www.lifeevolver.com Derek Ralston

    Good advice, I love the quote at the beginning. I disagree with the over-sleeping comment though- I believe that most people in modern society today are under-sleeping, not over-sleeping. And sometimes more sleep leads to more productivity/action.

  • http://www.secretsofthegoodlife.com Brad Spencer

    Sleep and Water.

    Two things that are amazing for you but can be very bad if used in excess. I learned recently you could drink too much water. Practically, this is impossible. However, possible nonetheless.

    Sleep is much easier to get too much of in my opinion. Your article resonated with me because usually I sleep too little or too much. I still haven’t found out the optimal time of sleep for my body. Sometimes I need a lot but then others I need 6-7 hours. It changes often and the times when I’m tired changes as well. Weird.

    Overall, this was a great article. Recently, I’ve been lazier than I need to be and it’s great to notice that the 11 things you wrote about were things that I have been doing. Won’t be doing that anymore!


    Brad Spencer

  • http://sajiv.blogsome.com Sajiv

    Nice post Alex.

    My number one cause of laziness is boredom, I seem to have a short attention span. Within five minutes of doing something I feel bored and disinterested or worse I feel damn sleepy !!! I think its due to an extreme TV addiction, so I’m doing a cold turkey on it. Started to show some signs of improvement.


  • Chuck

    Depression/guilt and the like for me are the number one cause of laziness. This is a great list; simple—not easy mind you—but simple. It seems to me that building in a reward of some sort might have a place here…but perhaps that would be a point for motivation. Great list. Thanks!

  • Pingback: Struggling with motivation? 8 ways to tackle laziness()

  • Pingback: Foo Thoughts » Blog Archive » Stop Being Lazy!()

  • Pingback: 9 ways to tackle laziness (not how you think!) « Angelic Wellbeing()

  • Pingback: Resource Links – July ´08 (Blog Posts) | WHAKATE()

  • josht

    My problem is I’m so lazy I didn’t even read the whole article

  • http://justiceanimale.wordpress.com Louche

    Reading is one bandwagon I’ll never fall off. If I didn’t read, I would feel like I was starving. I didn’t really get into reading until I was 12, as in a thing I craved, and I didn’t crave reading on an adult level until I was, um… 19? Yeah. I’d read stuff for school/college, and earlier I’d read a lot of fiction, but when I was 19 I developed the craving for non-fiction and critical analysis. And it’s basically my life now. I have always craved learning, and with the internet and a research library always there, I can always be learning. I just could never go back to not reading, I would feel like my brain was dying from ignorance. And I’ve always been a slow reader, but I barely notice it anymore, I read faster from lots of experience and knowing what to skim now, but in any case, I only read what interests me to begin with. And the more you read, the more things interest you because you know more and can make more connections and examine things more.

  • http://justiceanimale.wordpress.com Louche

    Oh, and the water idea is great. I’m going to try it. I never drink enough water, but a couple months ago I woke up extremely sick due to what I think was dehydration. It was very strange, and I wouldn’t have even thought it might be dehydration if I didn’t read up on it. I was pretty thirsty, but most of the effects of dehydration are actually a lot worse than thirst…. the thirst is not very extraordinary in itself.

  • Diane

    I have recently remarried and moved away from family. I am living in a totally new environment where there is absolutely nothing to do.I have become so lazy that all I do is sit and eat. I am so in a rut I am miserable. I have always been one to work hard and always on the go.I am now retired and I could use more advice on getting motivated. I start the morning with all kinds of energy,but within four hours all I do is sit. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lina

    My #1 cause of laziness is loneliness:( I’ve tried many different methods to get and stay motivated but my efforts go unnoticed and unappreciated so I end up spiting myself with a defeatest attitude and give up. I spend my time laying around watching tv. I’m not proud but do wish to change. I should be doing productive things because I want to…not for recognition by others, however it would be nice to hear a “thank you” or “great job” every once in a while.

    Thank for the article! I might be lonely but at least I know I’m not alone.