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22 tips for 2022: To fight "laziness," slow down and focus on your values

Illustration of an exhausted person bent over a desk with their head in their hands. The room is spinning, and the person is surrounded by clocks, stacks of books, a cup of coffee, a laptop and a smartphone.
Ana Galvañ for NPR

Instead of beating yourself up for being "lazy," try reframing what "laziness" means.

Devon Price, a social psychologist and the author of Laziness Does Not Exist, says that laziness is probably a sign you need to take a break, not work more.

To stop feeling like you're worth only your "hard work" — try the values clarification exercise.

Here's how it works:

  • Form a long list of values, things like achievement, family, spirituality, money, creativity, community, etc.
  • Identify the areas you want to focus on.
  • Narrow that down to just three values. Which would you pick? 
  • Picking three areas to focus on will help get rid of the guilt around not doing "enough."

    "I think laziness really is this canary-in-a-coal-mine kind of emotion that tells us when our values are out of step with our actual lives," explains Price. Once you have a sense of what really matters to you, then you can realign your life to be in step with your values.


    Here's more on reframing laziness.

    22 tips for 2022 is edited and curated by Dalia Mortada, Arielle Retting, Janet W. Lee, Beck Harlan, Beth Donovan and Meghan Keane. This tip comes from an episode of Life Kit hosted by Elise Hu and produced by Clare Marie Schneider.

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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    Elise Hu is a host-at-large based at NPR West in Culver City, Calif. Previously, she explored the future with her video series, Future You with Elise Hu, and served as the founding bureau chief and International Correspondent for NPR's Seoul office. She was based in Seoul for nearly four years, responsible for the network's coverage of both Koreas and Japan, and filed from a dozen countries across Asia.