I often come across people who seem to take apathy to the next level, you know the kind...constant excuses for why things haven't been done, often more effort than doing the task in the first place.
Then I see that person sitting around and I think "Why don't you spend this time doing something more productive?" This apathy or lack of ability to move forward is like a sickness. The more you do it, the less able you become. Once you break the cycle and get productive, it becomes a great buzz to achieve those things that you were putting off.
Those of you who know me, know that I was in a Mountain Rescue (MR) Team. I learned a load from doing that, but one big thing was overcoming the inertia of apathy.
When you stepped out on the hill, you knew that your feet were going to get soaked, which was both wet and cold - totally horrible. But it was going to happen anyway, so better to get it over with and get them wet as soon as possible so at least your feet could warm the water up.
Apathy at work is like that. The more you put things off, the more difficult they become to get going. How many jobs have we put off at work or at home. It becomes like a joke that they've not been done!
One of my first jobs when I left college was to work in a telesales office. You knew that you were going to get shouted at, but you had a target to meet, so you just needed to accept that, take a deep breath and get started. After a few calls, you'd be 'in the zone' and the day would fly by.
So why can't people seem to get over this apathy barrier? My only guess is that they don't want to. Why?
I believe that most people want to do a great job. Give them a task and empower them and they'll get on with it without the need to micromanage. Tell them when they're doing well (when they are) and challenge unacceptable performance.
You'll always get people dumped on projects, but how well you motivate them is up to you!