Procrastination and Laziness, Are They the Same?

Procrastination and laziness are they the same?

We all dream of being productive and efficient –  not to mention reaping the laurels of our endeavors.

We love waking up pumped, ready to take over the day, and efficiently using our skills and resources. And, most importantly, indulging in the satisfaction of ticking off tasks from our to-do lists.

However, completing tasks can sometimes become more of a utopia than a matter of fact, especially when laziness or procrastination shows up.

Contrary to popular opinion, motivation is not paramount to beating laziness or procrastination. The real difference in performing tasks is made by our physical part (our body) and non-physical one (our personality).

This article addresses the contrast between laziness and procrastination. By defining what evolutionarily drives us, we can break free from limiting states and get more done without mentally or physically straining ourselves.

The Difference Between Laziness and Procrastination

Although these two concepts tend to be mixed, they differ.

Laziness and procrastination share common ground in not getting the right thing done. Although it may sound counterproductive, laziness implies a particular activity, even if it’s resting or slacking off. Procrastination involves doing something, too, but discards a quintessential aspect – placing importance on the needle-movers. 

Laziness is a way of dodging reality. Lazy people have built their go-to safe space where no one can trespass, not even a sense of worry of not doing what we’re supposed to do. The effort involved in rolling up our sleeves and getting to work gains astronomical proportions. As a result, it turns us off the moment we want to get things done. 

Rest and rejuvenation are crucial for our physical and mental health. Still, diving too deep into pleasant idleness is a far cry from deploying your focus and misuse of your time and energy.

Because here’s the paradox: whether you’re watching Netflix or scrolling through social media, you’re still investing your most essential resources into irrelevant activities. Unfortunately, they don’t provide any return on investment apart from the phony sense that you are doing something.

Laziness is a biological problem. It’s strictly linked to our physical part, our body. And it has a lot to do with two driving forces.

The first driving force is the high value we place on our sense of calories. Not arguable if you consider that our ancestors operated on the surprise factor when it came to feeding themselves. Calories were scarce, and they had no idea where the next meal would come from. Even if today, we’re facing too many choices in terms of food,  we still tend to give particular importance to energy conservation. But this prioritization comes with a catch. We’re naturally choosing the path of least resistance every time we have to put out energy.

The second driving force behind laziness is that our nervous system is wired for comfort. This influences us to negotiate our way out of any energy-consuming situation. We tap into inherent laziness when we identify too much with our bodies. Because that’s what determines our level of laziness – our body and all biological processes happening inside us. This reduces our drive to grow, enabling us to marinate in our comfort zone.

Life is not a comfort-centric experience. It’s a growth-centric one.

Our biology can mislead us, making us move away from growth. But this goes against the natural cycle of living, which mimics nature and its constant pursuit of growth and contribution. Listening to our bodies is good, but overdoing it will cause us to head in an unprolific direction. 

On the other hand, procrastination has nothing to do with biology and everything to do with psychology. And here’s why the non-physical part of our body, our personality, plays a crucial role.

Our personality has a primary fear – that we’re not enough. Whether we feel we’re not enough physically or professionally, what we’re terrified of is the fear of failure. And we’re willing to go above and beyond to avoid that.

Procrastination revolves around three elements.

Firstly, you have a crystal-clear idea of what you should be doing. However, even if you’re well aware, you choose not to do it. The most bizarre thing about it? It’s not even because of a lack of skill set or know-how. The lack of drive is the only reason why you’re procrastinating.

Secondly, prioritization is optional for you. Say you have tons of things on your to-do list. You take care of 90% of them, which makes you feel good. But those are the easy things to do. In reality, that remainder of 10% moves the needle, and that’s precisely the part you avoid doing.

Thirdly, we are excuse machines. Procrastinators hold a tight grip on their ¨but¨ and are resourceful in finding reasons not to get the right things done. Their ¨but¨ is more powerful than their ¨why¨. If you give the word ¨but¨ new meanings, you can use it as fuel to move forward, no matter the obstacles you face. 

Procrastination is a self-defense mechanism to fend off failure.

As a result, we know we won’t have to tread an untapped path if we distract ourselves with easy-to-achieve objectives. When our landscape is filled with certainty, no tormenting thoughts about our self-worth will slide in. That’s why our brains accept and pursue endeavors that don’t require thinking outside the box or going the extra mile to complete a task.

The Hidden Benefits of Failing

Procrastination and laziness, are they the same

To protect our deepest fear of not being enough, we’d rather stay away from trying than failing. The most prominent aspect we’re missing out on when we do so is that the simple act of not trying equals failing. 

Failing at something doesn’t automatically transform you into a failure. It’s precisely the opposite mechanism that you want to experience. To beat procrastination, you need to conquer the fear of failure. How? By failing as fast and as much as possible. It may sound counterintuitive, but having failure-filled experiences under your belt will take you further than running away from failure.

You should see failure as an incentive to climb the ladder of success. Sure, you might experience beginner’s luck in the early stages of an endeavor. Still, a great start provides no guarantee that you’re safe from failure.

Dwelling too much in a familiar area is uncomfortable. To make sure being too comfortable in that uncomfortableness doesn’t become a liability, you need to flex the uncertainty muscle. Being untroubled by uncertainty will provide the grit you need to leave the stagnant comfort area behind. 

Uncertainty can open many more doors than certainty – but we don’t know that until we’re faced with the practical side of it.

The benefit of failing is that you’ve already done the heavy work. You’ve been in the trenches and explored the unknown. Now you’ve gained a skillset you’re not even aware of – until the next time you find yourself in a potentially risky situation. When this happens, you’re naturally inclined to make decisions that support your growth because you’ve already tried the bitter taste of failure. You know that even if the taste is unpleasant, it won’t taste as bad as the first time. The progression of failure challenges you to discover what you’re made of, and it helps build resilience, which will morph into self-worth.

Certainty and action are at opposite ends. Those who fear uncertainty would rather stay in school for too long than take the bull by its horns and uncover life’s box of surprises. Action beats skills. If you allow yourself to operate on certainty, you will never have enough skills, which means you’ll never be prepared to start. 

Pay attention to what brings you discomfort. You should explore those areas more, as they speed up your growth.

How to Avoid Laziness and Procrastination

Laziness and procrastination can determine the quality of our lives.

Do you ever wonder why some people keep their eyes on the prize and stay consistent with their mission? While others allow themselves to become purposeless leaves in the wind?

The answer is self-mastery.

Self-mastery fuels us to treat time and energy as our best-kept treasures. 

Treading the path of self-mastery is not a walk in the park. Practice and dedication can alter our standard modus-operandi, but they require patience. Patience is a colossal turn-off that throws us off course, making us deviate from essential goals while busy doing nothing. 

Whether you’re climbing the ladder of self-mastery or killing time, know that everything is a choice. Although we don’t wake up intending to burn daylight, we’re tricked by the false reward of taking a break.

Being hardwired for comfort is in stark contrast with the crux of our existence. It’s precisely that difference that causes inner conflict. But luckily, as we’ll discover below, there is one element that keeps our desire high to stick to our to-do list and make the best use of our resources.

The Ultimate Needle-Mover

purpose activates potential

Purpose activates potential and puts it on our soul’s map. If there is one element that can guide us through our life, that’s purpose.

Many people overlook the concept of purpose, thinking that only genius minds can access it. But this is far from reality. We all have a purpose. Sometimes, we can even find that we have multiple ones. But we need to pay attention inside and check in with the direction our souls point us toward. Because even after discovering our purpose, things may change. Our purpose compass may shift over the years, proving how much we’ve grown. Understanding the bigger picture means owning our purpose in a way that allows us to feel free to diffuse it and create a lasting impact in the world.

When you tap into your purpose, you don’t have to worry about your comfort zone. Because purpose becomes your North Star that finds a way to sparkle even in sheer obscurity. Motivation will flow organically through you, and executing activities related to your purpose will not burden you – they will light you up. You’ll find yourself looking forward to dedicating your attention to a cause that sets your heart on fire. The passion for sharing your gifts with the world will help build an empowering state of mind where laziness and procrastination are not welcome. The ripple effect you contribute to creating will empower others to fill their lives with meaning, too.

Putting a dent in the Universe means being aware of your limitations and conquering them. Perhaps the most blatant truth about human beings is that their life will go on anyway, regardless of how they spend their time. So, doesn’t it make sense to do the utmost with your time instead of purposelessly killing it?

You can explore deeper the intricacies of our behavior in my YouTube video,  Procrastination and Laziness, Are They the Same? 

I share eye-opening insights about how we’re hardwired to operate – and understanding that is a game-changer.

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