How to Enjoy The Benefits of Being Lazy

Because you don’t need to be productive all the time

Photo by Zhang Kenny on Unsplash

If there is anything that self-professed self-help gurus will agree on, it is the topic of productivity. Not the way to reach it, but the concept. Productivity and the lack of it. In every shape and form, productivity seems to be the single most important aspect of how you manage your life, how you achieve anything and how you handle your problems.

During the past few months, productivity was the go-to solution for handling this new life. You can’t leave the flat but you can still get up at 5 am to get things done. You don’t know what the future will bring but you can still keep a strict routine. You don’t get to go to the beach, but working on your beach body shouldn’t be hindered by the lockdown. Productivity seems to be the answer to everything.

As if it was a miracle cure for social isolation. As if success could help you manage your loneliness. As if feeling accomplished could magically solve every aspect of your life.

And on the same notes, we have been reading about laziness. Articles that absolve you, telling you that you are not lazy, you are tired. That you are not lazy, you are just dealing with things differently than others. That you are not lazy if you are not producing all the time.

While this is all good and helpful, there is one huge chunk of information that is missing. It is okay to be lazy. Regardless of your why, if you are a naturally lazy person, if you are tired, if this is your way of dealing with life or if you don’t give a damn about the success you are supposed to care about — it is okay to be lazy. So, I don’t need articles that tell me that I am not lazy but instead, I am [enter random text here], I need to know that being lazy is natural. And that it’s okay. Now and in general.

I am proud to say that I am quite lazy these days. I am not tired. I am not unmotivated. I am not dealing with anything. I am lazy and I enjoy not doing anything — even when sometimes I know I should be doing things.

The problem with our hustle culture is that we place too much importance on being successful, accomplished and productive that anything that doesn’t contribute to a socially accepted successful life, seems to be inherently bad. We are sold the idea that only hard work will bring success, that you need to sacrifice something for something, that doing is better than being. Laziness is the opposite of this. It is about not doing, just being. It is about ignoring things that we should care about — according to others. It is about not doing the work, or not doing it as hard. And as it is, it looks bad.

But laziness is not bad. To the contrary, it can be quite beneficial. To your mental health, to your health, and counterintuitively to your productivity as well.

Lazy people are more resourceful

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” ― Bill Gates.

If you are lazy — even just temporarily — your only goal is to find the easiest way to get things done. You don’t go to great lengths to prove that you are spending long hours hustling — you think about a shortcut or a solution that will get you out of the given task the quickest way possible.

The ability to come up with the simplest solution, the implementation of the quickest fail-fast methods, the unwillingness to waste time with overworking yourself will prove that you are more resourceful. You think, and you use your brain to get it over with — quick and easy.

It doesn’t matter if you do it to go and watch Netflix or take a nap, the point is that you want to get it done. And your motivation to accomplish might not be something majestic, but it surely will get you there.

Lazy people improvise better

Have you ever gone to a meeting unprepared? Have you ever stood in front of your colleagues who were looking at you for answers that you didn’t have time to rehearse? Have you ever given a presentation where you didn’t fully know what the next slide will contain? I have. And it was thrilling!

I had to improvise instead of going through the same routine motions. I had to think instead of reciting something that I have written down. I had to come up with answers that I didn’t even know I had in me.

The adrenaline of not being fully prepared was pushing me to great heights and I made more mental connections and draw better conclusions than with a calm head.

I’m not saying you should be jeopardising your career with lack of preparation, but some anxiety can be a good thing. Improvisation is a great sign of mental awareness, but you will never know it if you are always prepared.

Lazy people have less long-lasting stress

When I think about my 9–5 job, the first thing that comes to mind was the constant stress of it. The stress wasn’t about always doing something difficult or stressful — it was about being stressed out in the breaks as well. The constant state of alert, always expecting the unexpected, watching your back and the possible events at every corner put me into long-standing stress.

It was like a drug. A permanent high of being needed and irreplaceable. The responsibility for my work and for those I worked with. There was no downtime — unless you left for at least 2 weeks of vacation, which literally didn’t happen more than once in 18 years for me.

Being lazy comes with a certain calmness. There are unproductive times when I don’t care about anything, which means I am not stressing about anything. The stressful period comes only at times when I finally have to work, or I have a deadline — but it doesn’t cloud every waking minute of my days.

Laziness is a way of thought processing

I have always admired kids for their ability to do nothing without the urge to do something. My daughter is the master of doing nothing. She can lay on her back, watching the ceiling for hours and when I ask her what she is doing she tells it loud and clear: nothing. She is not daydreaming, she is not consciously thinking, she is not deliberately doing anything. She is deliberately not doing anything.

According to psychologists, these moments of downtime — both for kids and adults — are necessary to process all the impulses that we are facing day after day. When doing nothing our brains can escape from the constant stress of impressions and new stimuli. It offers us perspective and a much-needed break. But contrary to kids, adults don’t embrace it. As adults, we are pressured into working our way through our problems. We are expected to do something if nothing else, but at least entertain ourselves with books, movies or video games. Boredom and laziness are considered to be terrible.

So, what if instead of trying to counteract our laziness by always doing something more, becoming more productive and accomplished, we would just sit around and do nothing for a change? What if laziness wasn’t a curse, but an integral part of life when we rest, relax and calm ourselves? What if we weren’t beating ourselves up for not doing always something, and instead, we would just enjoy the void? It would be great if you ask me.

Writer. Dreamer. Hopeless romantic. Newsletter: zita.substack.com Email me: zitafontaine (at) gmail

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