Are You Lazy, or Are You Just Overwhelmed?
You need to know the difference.
Are you lazy, or are you overwhelmed?
In today's world of technology where everything is accessible at your finger tips, it is easy to get lost in the world of Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and Netflix for hours. Distractions are everywhere, and are more enticing than ever. Now combine these engaging platforms with your discomfort and anxiety around the next task you need to accomplish, and it provides the perfect escape plan. Before you know it you're sucked into this world of automatic "up next" and "next episode" features that leave your body lifeless on your bed for hours. One might think you're lazy, but I think you're really just overwhelmed.
We create these labels of 'lazy' and 'unproductive' to mask the emotions that we are really feeling. People understand procrastination, but they don't understand overwhelm. Let's face it, people don't want to admit that their "laziness" is really just their coping mechanism to avoid uncomfortable feelings.
Sometimes the task you need to complete may be as minor as responding to an email. However, when you start to think about having to check your schedule to see if the date they requested will work for you, and then you think about 3 different possible responses they could reply with, and then you think about the super long day you had... and your thoughts go on and on. The email isn't the issue here. Grabbing a pint of ice cream and curling up to watch Netflix, isn't the issue here. The issue is that you're creating avoidance techniques that are stopping you from completing small tasks, which then stop you from completing the bigger tasks.
You're not watching or scrolling because you're lazy, you're doing it because you're overwhelmed.
So, how can we manage this better?
1. Get honest with yourself. How long will the task really take you? ("oh, only 5 minutes to check my schedule and respond back?", 5 minutes of stress now is better then 3 days of stress knowing you need to send the email but still haven't).
2. Realize that nothing in the future is in your control. No matter how many scenarios you create about the other persons reaction, you will never be able to control it (so just send the email).
3. Breathe into the discomfort. Try to identify why you are avoiding the task. Is it the task itself? Does it feel like a lot on top of everything you already did today? Then, be compassionate with yourself and breathe. If it's the task, what would make it easier? Maybe you have to tell yourself that you just have to do it anyways and then you can watch a show afterwards. Rewards (for a lack of a better word) are not escape routes, they are a practice of self-love.
Lastly, it is important to build self-awareness. If we accept this label of 'lazy' then you will begin to believe it. You are not lazy, you are overwhelmed. Lazy is a character trait, overwhelm is an emotion. Character traits become embedded in your identity, but emotions come and go like waves. Notice as wave of overwhelm arises, and learn to flow with it. When you try to escape the wave you will drown.
Be honest, breathe into it, and release control.