Have someone ever called you “lazy”? Most people have! Many individuals like to throw around the accusation around, assigning any non-productivity or a lack of activity to the phrase. It’s an insult. But have you considered that, instead, you are merely disinterested?
While it’s true that so-called lazy behavior can cause problems, assuming it is genuine laziness all the time isn’t the best idea. Human brains, emotions, and motivations are often more complex than they seem on the surface, and laziness can cover other problems. Most commonly, it’s a stand-in behavior that hides boredom or disinterest.
Still, no one wants to be seen as lazy, and most who think they display such traits will want to fix that. This is why it’s essential to understand that behaviors that seem sluggish on the surface aren’t always actually lazy. By assuming that they are, you’re making it harder for yourself to overcome the actual reason behind your behavior.
So, how can you tell if you’re truly lazy? Is it ever okay to assume the laziness of yourself or others? What do you do if you are just lazy, and what do you do if you find out you’re not? In short, the question is: are you lazy or just disinterested?
Here are four ways to find out.
1. Do You Dislike Your Everyday Work?
Lots of people spend their days doing things they barely tolerate. If you’re lucky enough to work at a dream job or at a job you truly and genuinely enjoy, then good for you! But there are plenty of people who don’t. And it’s likely that your work is a mere means to an end. You need to earn money to live, and you need a job that pays you that money, and that’s that.
Unfortunately, this can mean that you’re very disinterested in your everyday life. This can look like laziness because:
- Behaving lazily is an easy distraction and can help separate you from what you dislike.
- Sitting around all day and doing nothing can feel better than doing the work you dislike
- Finding ways to make your work enjoyable can mean deviating from your current task as your brain seeks enrichment or any form of stimulation at all.
Of course, it isn’t easy to spice up everyday work without being seen as “lazy,” especially if you have a strict superior, manager, or boss who keeps tabs on you. If you can, however, it’s possible to find ways to brighten your working experience. You can listen to music that you love as you work (or an audiobook, if you can focus on it!), start some friendly competition with colleagues, give yourself rewards for specific accomplishments, and more!
2. Do You Procrastinate?
Procrastination is the act of waiting till the very last minute to do specific tasks, forcing yourself to rush to finish them despite having lots of time beforehand. It’s such a standard behavior that it’s often joked about by those who do it. And yes, it is often considered a key sign of laziness, but research indicates that it’s far from just that.
Surprisingly, procrastination is a complex topic. Being bored or disinterested can often mean that you don’t feel motivated enough to get things done. You need to learn and internalize that personal drive is more important than motivation. Beyond that, there are a vast number of different factors that can influence someone’s decision – or lack thereof – to procrastinate. Here are some examples:
· Poor Time Management
It’s easy to underestimate the amount of time you need to complete something, and time has an unfortunate way of going by much too quickly when you’re not paying attention. Learning to be better aware of time and keep track of deadlines can reduce the severity of this, mainly if you include a detailed plan along the way.
· Being Unsure Of The Task
When you’re unsure what to do, it’s easy to get overwhelmed as you sit around and try to figure it out by observation and guesswork. If your most common excuse for procrastination is that you didn’t know how to start, you may want to start asking for help or advice from your colleagues or peers. Studies indicate that those who don’t request assistance from coworkers have lower positive thinking and satisfaction regarding their job.
· Bad Thinking
Many procrastinators genuinely believe that they are at their most proficient and efficient when they work at the last minute. This means they’re not lazy – they’re just wrong about their best methods for productivity. For example, any neurodivergent individuals who do not receive proper treatment often feel that only pressure from rushing to get things done makes them work well or fast. If this describes you, then you need to learn to understand what truly works for you.
It seems contradictory to be a perfectionist who procrastinates. Surely wanting perfection means you want to get started sooner rather than later, right? Well, not for everyone! Perfectionism itself is a flawed trait. It always imposes impossible standards, and you should not use it to measure self-worth. This can mean that you don’t want to start working because you’re overwhelmed by your impossible task. It’s an avoidant coping mechanism, not a sign of laziness, and you need to start lowering your standards to more reasonable goals if you want positive results!
One of the most common examples that people give of laziness involves a lack of exercise. The concept of this seems to suggest that if you don’t want to take care of yourself, it’s because you’re too lazy to do so. This doesn’t take into account that exercise is challenging for some people, and it also forgets that exercising involves long-term commitments that can be intimidating to first-timers.
And, on top of that, let’s face it – exercise can be pretty dull! Not everyone wants to trek off to a jog or lift weights at the gym. It can seem like a terrible way to spend free time when the environment in question can be dull and dry. The trick is to learn how to make these moments more enjoyable. For example, you might:
- Listen to an audiobook, podcast, or your favorite music while running
- Watch a video, show, or movie while you’re at the gym
- Find more exciting ways to exercise, like via dancing, playing certain sports, or brisk-walking while window shopping, or anything similar
- Workout with a friend, family member, or someone else you like spending time with
4. You Have Low Self-Esteem
Being told you’re lazy for your whole life can lower self-esteem, and if yours already isn’t the greatest, there’s a chance that your laziness stems from that personal self-loathing. When you lack confidence in your abilities, it’s hard to use them to do anything. That mindset forms a self-fulfilling prophecy. The lower your spirit, the more likely you are to mess up, and the more you mess up, the lower your confidence.
In other words, having little self-esteem can make you disinterested in even trying to begin with. Here are some ways you can fix this:
· Use Your Strengths
If most of the things you do play into your weaknesses or aren’t things you’re very good at, it’s easy to become disinterested as you feel like you can’t do anything correctly. Research has shown that using your strengths can have positive effects on productivity as you are more likely to enjoy working in areas where you shine.
· Take Note Of Progress
If your self-esteem is low, you likely constantly feel like you aren’t doing well enough and may feel stuck in your jobs or hobbies. This can be quickly discouraging as you feel like you’re not improvising, causing you to want to stop and give up. This isn’t you being lazy – it’s you needing your intrinsic validation. Keep track of all progress in subjects where you tend to seem “lazy,” no matter how small. Real change happens gradually and, when you live in your own life, it’s hard to notice those gradual improvements. You might discover that you are doing much better than you initially believed! Don’t forget to reward yourself after you surpass a milestone.
· Stop Being Afraid Of Failure
Low self-esteem can make failure seem like a brand. Whenever something goes wrong, you may blame yourself entirely, rendering you uninterested in the last at hand. You may even feel so discouraged that you don’t want to do anything in that vein anymore. Learning to get comfortable and positive about failure can do wonders for your interest levels. You will soon learn to take these as teaching moments instead of symbols of your self-worth.
If you’ve noticed, there aren’t any signs that you’re lazy. The reality is that laziness isn’t a natural, inherent emotion or trait. In fact, viewing it as such can be incredibly detrimental to your mental health, positive thinking, and personal growth. The idea of laziness brands you with a particular behavior, implying that this is just a trait you have and it cannot be changed.
The truth is that laziness isn’t a real “thing,” and plenty of modern experts agree. People are not lazy because they want to be. Laziness is a mere symptom of a situational problem and a deeper-rooted issue. It may be disinterest, but you may also feel overwhelmed by thoughts, fear, pressure, insecurity, and much more that.
These issues masquerade as laziness to the untrained eye because they dig deep. Most people aren’t ready to delve into the problems of others. Thus, they assign a trait that fits best based on what they see. This is a poor way to judge someone’s character, as it makes many assumptions that can’t be founded in evidence. Essentially, if you don’t understand why someone is doing something and decide they must be lazy, then you haven’t received the necessary information to comprehend their situation.
At the end of the day, everyone deals with their struggles and battles, and so are you. Instead of calling yourself lazy, consider the actual root cause of your behaviors. Reflect on why you behave in a way that seems “lazy” and ponder how to overcome those roots. If you need further assistance, remember that you can always reach out to a mental health professional for help!