I have a confession to make… I can be very lazy. Most of the time I stay productive — I do my best to stay focused and on task, but let’s be honest -- I’m only human. Laziness can be very poisonous. The lazier you get, the harder it is to get yourself to do things. The less you do, the lazier you get and so on goes the endless cycle of immobility.
I have been fighting my laziness for quite some time now — about 25 years or so. Recently it hit me, though, why not use my laziness to my advantage? Why allow it to dictate my actions and not use it to dictate my own actions? Maybe I had it all wrong; maybe laziness can be used in a way to make it less of a bad thing and more of a useful tool. Maybe laziness can be useful. The trick to overcoming laziness is to accept it and then to turn it on its head to your advantage.
We get lazy all the time. The average adult has more than enough tasks to accomplish on a weekly basis to seem as if they should be stretched over the month in order to complete. What most people don’t realize is that the amount of time most tasks take to complete is less than half the time that we believe they will take to complete.
More so, because time is only a concept and relative to the beholder, what feels like four hours can actually be two hours and what feels like two hours can actually be four. You should do your best to avoid thinking about actions and simply do them instead. As George Berkeley pointed out a bit more eloquently: time is the space between your thoughts.
The more you do, the less you focus on the time that it takes to do it and the less you realize how quickly time passes you by. Most of our laziness comes from the belief that the tasks that we are about to begin will be painful to complete. Going in with that way of thinking proves you right 100% of the time. Believing the opposite is also right 100% of the time.
Think of laziness as a warning system that you are being inefficient rather than a disease of some variety. That’s how laziness is labeled in our society, is it not? Laziness is a sickness, one that must be treated and removed — a cancerous tumor, if you will. I’d like to argue against this line of thinking because the truth is that laziness — as almost everything else that exists purely in your head — is what you make it out to be.
Sure, laziness can work as a deterrent from action, but it could also work as a warning system that the tasks that you are about to embark on are going to be initiated and completed inefficiently. Probably the most important thing that I have realized in recent weeks is that laziness can actually work to your benefit.
How many things do you dread doing on a regular basis? Because in large part our lives consist of maintenance, and because we don’t view maintenance as progress but rather as stagnancy, we avoid the simplest of tasks. Cleaning your place, doing the laundry, writing those emails, going to the store, taking your cat to the vet, washing the dishes…the list goes on and on.
When we look at these things we don’t think that the completion of them will satisfy any of our needs directly — the problem arises when the lack of maintenance catches up on us. Sometimes the most important thing is to maintain the things that you already have. Not only does it teach you to appreciate what you have, but also betters your standard of living.
V For Vendetta
Laziness should not be looked upon as a bad thing. Why not, instead, view our laziness as a signal telling us that what we are about to work on can be done more efficiently with less effort? I have come to see that most of the things that I don’t enjoy doing can be done in half the time. There are countless ways to minimize effort while maximizing efficiency in our daily, weekly and monthly routines.
Laziness doesn’t have to be the end of the road — it could be a sign pointing to a shortcut. You shouldn’t feel bad about taking shortcuts as long as the work itself has the desired effect. What is most important is that the work gets done and that it accomplishes the goals that were set. Will your boss care if you do your job within eight hours or three as long as the work gets done and the customers don’t suffer for it?
There are plenty of ways to hack your life and minimize the stress your workload has on your mind. The first step is accepting that laziness — a form of stress in itself — can be used to your benefit. The second is sucking it up and getting the work done that needs to be done while doing so in the most efficient manner possible.
It’s important to understand that whatever effect the physical world has on your mind can be controlled, altered, minimized or maximized as you so desire. What it takes, however, is time and patience; constant repetition is the only way to create long-lasting change. Laziness shouldn’t be the end. It should be the starting point.