The "work from home" lifestyle sounds ideal at first. No bosses, full control over scheduling, and the comforts of home right at your fingertips? What's not to like?
Unfortunately, this lifestyle isn't for everyone. If you've tried it and succeeded, then consider yourself one of the lucky ones.
However, if you're like most people, you will face some specific and common challenges. One of these challenges is laziness. Home is a place where lazy just happens for all of the reasons I just mentioned. You've got your bed, your favorite chair, a place to chill, snacks in the pantry. If you feel a bit worn down, stressed out, or just need to relax, it's all right there.
In those moments of stress, tiredness, or frustration, it's easy to take refuge in those trappings of home and escape the work at hand. That's why you need some ways to punch lazy in the face when the urge comes creeping in.
Create a dedicated space for your work.
The number one method of banishing laziness is to create a dedicated space for work.
An entire room just as your office is ideal. This allows you to concentrate and provides the greatest ability to shut out distractions.
If you live in a small apartment, you probably don't have an extra room available to convert into your office. That's okay. As long as you can create unique work conditions, you will be able to accomplish the same thing. A spare corner, kitchen table, or desk in the bedroom can work, too.
In large part, the body operates according to environmental cues. Over time, you can create habits of mind and body that signal productivity. The important factor there is repetition and consistency. The more you establish these conditions and repeat them, the easier it gets to recreate the intended results. Things like turning on your productivity music, starting a pot of coffee, flipping on your work lamp, or wearing your lucky sweater are simple behaviors that indicate to your body and mind that it is time to work.
This is crucial. Make sure that you work from the same place as often as possible. Moving your office around to different areas of the house makes it hard for your body to shift into no-more-lazy mode and to get stuff done. Choosing a single area devoted to work will give you the greatest anti-lazy power.
Find your rhythm.
The body's circadian rhythms regulate when your highest periods of energy occur and how you experience them.
For most people, the highest energy phase is during the morning. Others may experience a rise in energy in the evening. And others still may experience it during the night.
Whatever your unique rhythm, embrace it. It's easier to work with your body rather than against it -- although we should exercise caution when giving the body everything it wants. Nevertheless, when you find a work rhythm that fits your life circumstances and your biological clock, then you will naturally reduce the effects of laziness.
Perhaps one reason you're so tempted to laze around is because you're not working in sync with your body's circadian cycles. When you discover your best time of day to work, you'll begin to slip into your rhythm and ward away laziness. Plus, you'll have far more creativity, skill, and output.
Hire a co-worker.
Working with someone is another effective way to stay accountable. That is, if the person is responsible and diligent. Remember, people can also reinforce your negative habits if you allow them to.
In any case, it's a lot harder to binge watch the day away if a colleague is sitting at the table next to you, working on projects and getting stuff done.
You don't have to technically hire someone. Just ask another entrepreneur if they want a distraction-free place to work. You'll even provide the coffee!
The camaraderie and shared experiences could prove to be valuable for both of you. As long as you can avoid chatting the day away, being together could help to spark mutual creativity and productivity. In a group, you can often have valuable discussions and move your business ideas forward.
Dress up for work.
Dressing for work makes you work smarter, harder, faster, and with less laziness. There is research that studies the impacts of dressing the part.
Believe it or not, there's a whole branch of science that deals with the topic. It's called "enclothed cognition." Enclothed cognition "describe[s] the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer's psychological processes."
In other words, if you wear a white lab coat, you tend to act and think like a doctor or scientist. Research has proven that this actually happens in the minds of test subjects.
I'm all about smart hacks for big wins. Dressing up is one of those smart hacks.
Even though no one will see you, you should still dress for work. If you're dressed in a certain way, you'll act in a certain way.
Announce your work schedule, and maintain it.
Creating a schedule helps you to stay in a productive zone. If you know you have a schedule, you are more likely to maintain it.
The risk of working from home is that home life and work life overlap until they are a mushy mix-up of who-knows-what-you're-doing-at-any-given-time. Laziness tends to creep into your potential work time.
The best way to keep this from happening is to develop rigid times when you must be working. Your schedule works as a barrier between the overlap of life and the necessity of work, so there will be true work/life balance
Some people just don't get the work-at-home thing. They think that if you work at home, you have scads of free time. They assume that you're available for random middle-of-the-day meetups, drop-bys, and just-saying-hellos.
In reality, you're working. Tell your friends and family that you have a work schedule, and you need to keep it or you're out of a job.
Get away from the house for intense work sessions.
Your home may not be the ideal location for ramping up the intensity level on a project or assignment.
If necessary, hole up in a coffee shop or library. Sheltering yourself in a place like this removes you from a familiar setting where laziness may thrive and gives you the space to intensify your work and your concentration.
Laziness is an enemy that we all face. If you're tempted to lounge around on the couch, you're not alone.
As work-from-home creatives, entrepreneurs, employees, or parents, we have tasks to do, money to make, and productivity to achieve. Take these tips, put them into practice, and watch your value soar!
What tips do you have for kicking lazy to the curb?