Home page Psychology blog Bad Habits Self-Discipline Devastating laziness. What’s behind it?

Devastating laziness. What’s behind it?

11.11.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

“I’m not doing well at all. I’ve been dismissed from the institute, and I’m not sure I want to re-register. The most offensive thing is that I’ve been dismissed from the last course, and all because of my laziness. I had to pass the practical training, I had to learn the ropes and write a report, but I was constantly postponing everything. As a result, I was not allowed to defend my diploma. Now everything is unclear at work, because I was hired on the condition of getting a degree in the specialty. Most likely I won’t have a degree, as well as a job. It’s all because of my laziness… I’m so tired of myself!”

– Dina, 22 y.o.

Our heroine is not alone in her trouble — most people are sometimes lazy, not wanting to do something and trying to get away with not doing any work. There is even such a thing as social laziness when people put less effort if they work in a group. After all, in this case someone else will surely finish our work for us and we can get away with being a little lazy.

There are situations when people lose their jobs, part with loved ones or even think about suicide because of laziness. It would seem that laziness hinders us. Why, then, are we lazy? Why do we spoil our lives with our own hands, with our laziness? Is it possible to stop this self-destruction? How to overcome laziness and change your life?


Signs of devastating laziness

lazy man

According to the dictionary, laziness is a preference for free time instead of working and the absence or lack of diligence.

We would also like to put in a good word for laziness, since it could be useful in small quantities. It protects against overwork and saves energy and sometimes helps to come up with something new. “How much longer do I have to wash dishes by hand?! I need to make this process easier,” – perhaps that’s what Josephine Cochrane, the dishwasher inventor, thought.

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Sometimes laziness gets out of control and causes many problems in life. We can talk about destructive laziness if it leads to the following consequences:

  1. Problems at work up to dismissal, fines, deprivation of bonuses, and conflicts with colleagues (or similar problems with studies).
  2. Family quarrels, constant disorder at home, unsanitary conditions and diseases due to lack of hygiene.
  3. Lost dreams and opportunities, thwarted plans and financial problems.
  4. Fights with friends, unfulfilled promises and severance of friendships.
  5. Lower self-esteem, depressed mood, longing, apathy, depression.

But is there always a lack of hard work behind idleness? We have collected the most vivid stories from forums to illustrate various possible causes of laziness.

Laziness due to fatigue

“My husband says I’m the laziest wife in the world. I don’t seem to do anything around the house, but I get so tired that I just fall off my feet in the evening. My husband says I’m getting tired because of idleness. But we have two kids of 2 and 3 years old, who are not the quietest ones. I sleep in snatches, maybe only 6-7 hours in total. All day long I’m staying with my children: we sculpt, draw, walk, and then I clean up after them. I cook food since I have to feed the children, but the house is steadily accumulating dirt. I love cleanliness, but I’m just too lazy to waste my time on useless cleaning, which will be destroyed in 20 minutes.”

– Tamara, 27

Domestic work is a rather thankless job since the results of labor are quickly destroyed, become dirty or eaten. People often get tired of endless tasks, even if there are electronic assistants in the house. As a result, they are deemed “lazy”, even if the fault lies in the Groundhog Day nature of the work performed than in lack of diligence. In this case, we deliberately put laziness in quotes, because, in fact, it is not laziness in its classical sense.

Another common situation is when heavy workload provokes “laziness” in a person concerning household chores. It is difficult for people to devote time not only to everyday life but also to themselves, to be engaged in self-development. It’s natural. The body needs rest, and constant overwork can even lead to death (in Japan this phenomenon is called karoshi). Therefore, sometimes laziness is a consequence of overpressure.

Think about it – can you simplify some everyday tasks or find an assistant? Do you have enough time for a full rest? Do you have a chance to recover? If not, then, first of all, you need to take care of the balance between rest and work, sleep and nutritious food. Then fatigue will go away, most likely, together with a feeling of constant “laziness.”

Laziness because of infantilism and reluctance to take responsibility

“That’s it, I can’t do it anymore. Looks like our family is falling apart at the seams. Has anyone else encountered the catastrophic laziness of one’s husband? My faithful spouse is just like a plant in a pot — you should only water it and do not touch it. He was made redundant three years ago. I could understand crisis or searching for a new meaning in life. I supported him, understanding that this was a difficult period. But it should end sometime, shouldn’t it? A person has to do at least something. Take the chance, change the specialty, I’ll support you. You don’t want to work, you’re tired, you want to retire – well, I have no gender stereotypes. There’s nothing wrong with my husband running our home, I’m making enough money. But he does nothing at home, plays all day on the computer. He’s just too lazy to change his life! Sometimes I wonder why I need such excess baggage? To feed, nurse and dress? What’s the point? To brag to my girlfriends? He’s like a child, only a child grows up and learns. In my case, it’s the other way around.

— Alla, 41 y.o.

There are probably several reasons for this situation. But the main one is the infantilism of the heroine’s husband. He faced difficulties, but instead of solving them, gave up, renounced responsibility for his life and chose a life in dependency. It is quite difficult to influence the other person, especially if they think that everything is normal. The only way is to try to convey to the person that the situation is unacceptable, that there is a problem, and that it must be solved. Most likely, a lot of calm and reasoned conversations will be needed.

Laziness due to lack of meaning

“I gave up studying in the 7th grade. Not officially, I just almost stopped going to school. In 8th grade I had 391 absences. And why not? My beloved teacher, who had always supported us, left. I didn’t have many friends, I had other interests. Well, the teenage crisis also must have affected me. Learning became boring and uninteresting. I walked the streets instead of going to lessons or read books in the library. Teachers gave me “C”s either out of pity or because they didn’t want to mess with the repeater. In the 9th grade I finally understood that it was necessary to learn, and I started doing to school regularly, my grades became better. Then I graduated from college, and then university, but by my own choice. I got into a place I was interested in.”

– Oleg, 25 y.o.

Loss or lack of meaning is a common cause of laziness. A person just doesn’t understand why they need to do something. Why should I study, if the school does not teach anything, teachers only yelling because of how I dress and give bad marks? Why should I work and level up professional skills if the promotion is not in the cards, and the salary is low? Why should I do something if I won’t get anything out of it?

Every activity should have personal significance – it is the core of motivation. If your laziness is based on a lack of meaning, the main goal is to find that meaning. If you do not find the meaning — invent it. For example, a child is bored to just draw sticks, but if you come up with a meaning — competition for speed and accuracy -— then drawing will become much more interesting.

The meaning should be personal, important and significant for you. Think about it the reasons you need to do something you may not particularly want to do. Do you really need to do it? Are you taking your lead from parents, friends or society? For example, studying at the wrong university, working not where you wanted and trying to look the way you never wanted to look?

Laziness due to fear of failure

fear of failure

“The story of dismissal repeats itself. I’m a normal worker, but when new tasks are assigned to me, I fail everything. In my last job, a user support project was assigned to me. It was assigned to me alone. After a couple of days, I realized I couldn’t do it. It was embarrassing to consult with someone. I thought I had to do everything by myself. As a result, I was lazy to the last and failed the project. Now I have a new job and I’m in the same situation. A task was assigned to me as to a promising employee, but I do not know how to cope with it. It’s difficult, nobody did it before me. In a week I need to show at least something, but I have zero, and I constantly procrastinate. I haven’t even opened the documents. How to overcome laziness and change my life? After all, I have already missed so much. “

– Ivan, 29 y.o.

This story is very similar to the story of Dina in the beginning – the task seems so complex and impossible that the person constantly postpones it, too “lazy” to do it. Why would one even try if it won’t work out anyway?

In addition, Ivan believes that only stupid people can ask for help. This makes the situation even more unpleasant and unbearable, so Ivan strenuously avoids it or, according to him, is being lazy.

If your laziness is based on such avoidance, you can try to break the main task into smaller and more feasible sub-tasks. At the same time, before embarking on the task it is important to focus on the actions (what to do and how to do it), and not on emotions and thoughts (it is difficult, I do not know anything, I will fail).

Preliminary assessment and post-assessment of the complexity of the task could also help. Let’s show it by example:

“I’m so tired, I’m annoying myself. I’m just some kind of loser. Only a loser can miss so many chances in life because he is stupidly lazy! I have always been lazy and hopeless for as long as I can remember. I just don’t want to do anything; I don’t have the strength or willpower for it. Sometimes I just lie down all day. I’ve been employed many times, but nobody wants to tolerate an employee who doesn’t go to work because he’s busy lying in bed doing nothing. Lately, I often think that my life is a mistake. I shouldn’t have been born, I’m completely useless, lazy and stupid.”

– Anton, 23 y.o.

I don’t want to go to practical training
Preliminary complexity assessmentPost-assessment of complexity


It is very difficult, it is necessary to go to the institute, to embarrass myself, to talk to the teacher, the report is very complex and cumbersome



I have been at the institute, the teacher did not swear at me and gave a sample to fill out the report. I postponed the practice for 3 months, then passed it in 5 days

Laziness as a sign of disease

If the laziness has no obvious causes and is accompanied by a decline in strength and reduced mood for a long time, it is important to visit the doctors and check whether it is a symptom of any disease. For example, depression, sleep disorders, anemia, thyroid disease, etc.

It’s not just diseases that can disguise themselves as ordinary laziness. Laziness itself can lead to certain consequences: eternally bad mood, decreased self-esteem and somatic disorders. Besides, sometimes laziness may result in thoughts of suicide. After all, when there are so many opportunities around, and you miss them through your fault, it may become a reason for self-flagellation and self-deprecation. In such cases, the support of a specialist is highly recommended.

Laziness due to inflated expectations

“I will never do what I’m not interested in. Any man has a purpose, I just haven’t found mine yet. When I find it, it will become clear. What a person is meant to be doing should be easy and simple. If it’s not easy, it’s just not for me.”

– Maxim, 33 y.o.

Belief that there is a “deal of a lifetime” that is bound to be given, easily lead to a certain kind of laziness. “I don’t want to make an effort, because everything should be easy” or “I won’t lift a finger. I’ll just wait for something worthwhile.” A person expects things to be easy and quickly retreats when there is a need to make an effort. Even the most beloved and desirable work can require considerable effort, and the extent to which a person is willing to invest even in small things will depend on success in this type of activity.

Laziness as a way of life

how to deal with laziness

“After my depression, I had to learn a lot again. Three years have passed, and it’s like I’ve forgotten how to live. Simple household chores put me in a stupor because I had to call somewhere, write something or take something somewhere. It is very difficult. I got used to the fact that I fail at everything, that it’s hard to make decisions, that I can’t concentrate. I’ve cured my depression, but my life skills haven’t come back.”

— Antonina, 36 y.o.

Sometimes a person would be happy to do something, but they just don’t know how it is done or don’t have such habit. For example, if you do not have a habit of playing sports, you have to make an effort to go to the fitness club or for a run each time. It’s complicated, and many people give up.

In such situations, it is useful to focus your efforts on building a habit: to set a goal, to draw a plan and follow it, to plan for backslides and to be ready for them.

How to overcome laziness?

Destructive laziness is a very common problem. If everyone did at least half of what they wanted, humanity would have long ago achieved shared prosperity and world peace.

However, there are good news. A human being is very active. If we don’t do anything for a long time, we get bored. Boredom causes a desire to do something and change. Unfortunately, humans bypassed this built-in desire for activity. We invented TV and the Internet. Now even when a person is lying on the couch, loitering, clicking the remote or tapping their fingers on the phone, it creates an illusion of action. They’re constantly absorbing information. They’re active and busy, but with something else.

Therefore, the main goal is to change and learn to do what you consider useful and necessary. Finding meaning, focusing on action and forming new habits will help here.

You can try to change your habits and stop being lazy — we are sure you can do it. You can also seek help from professionals. This way it will be easier, faster and more efficient to fight laziness.

One effective way is the 7Spsy behavior modification technique , a patented method of behavioral psychology based on the theories of I.P. Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, A.A.Ukhtomsky, etc.

This is a course aimed at changing undesirable behavior and learning new and useful habits.

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During the course you will be able to identify the reasons for your laziness, motivate yourself and change your life. After 6 weeks you will feel that it is easier and easier for you to cope with your laziness. You will learn to switch between activities, will be able to easily overcome the desire to stay on the couch, learn new habits that will help you achieve goals.

The course is completely confidential and remote. You will be able to study at a convenient time for you, and our psychologists will provide you with help and support, answer all the questions by phone, in an online chat, or by e-mail.

Remember, you can make your life into what you want it to be. You can change. Everything is in your hands. Whether you have support or are on your own, you’re stronger than your laziness.