Something that gets just completely frowned upon in our productivity focused society is laziness. But you could have a very good reason to be feeling–or being perceived–as lazy. AND that feeling of not wanting to do anything–which, I fully admit, I have been feeling so frequently lately–could be telling you something really important. But if you buy in to the idea that laziness is bad, you’ll never hear it.
You know what that message likely is? That you’re tired. That you need a break. That your body is saying, hey, let’s take a little time to rest and replenish.
Wow, what a concept, huh?
You’re reading the transcript of an episode of the How to Be a Better Person podcast. If you’d rather listen, click the play button below.
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To be clear this is not my idea
It is Dr. Devon Price’s, author of the book Laziness Does Not Exist. I encourage you to check out the book or to follow him on Instagram, where he also shares a lot about trans rights and issues related to neurodiversity. That’s Devon Price, d-e-v-o-n and price like the Price Is Right.
Speaking of neurodiversity and diversity in general, lazy is often used to label people of races that aren’t white, people with ADHD, people in the lower classes, and people with mental health challenges, like depression.
So let’s just re-think this idea of lazy all around–as it pertains to ourselves, and as it pertains to other people, whaddya say?
Of course, it’s not always possible to fully honor your desire to be lazy. You’ve got a job. You’ve got kids. You’re taking care of a loved one. You’re in school, or are volunteering, or starting a side hustle. Honestly, maybe you’ve got all of those things happening at once.
How do you make space for laziness in your life?
Well, the first step is to notice that you’re feeling lazy, and not just immediately start telling yourself you have to ‘get things done’. Awareness is always the first step in creating a new neural pathway, because you can’t change a habit you don’t know you have.
You could even get curious about how laziness feels in your body. Do you feel like your limbs are heavy? Is it a desire to slow down? Or are you perhaps noticing that your attention is flitting all over the place?
Once you notice that your energy, or your motivation is flagging, ask yourself, what am I really craving right now? Maybe you need to eat. Maybe you need to step outside for a few minutes and breathe in some fresh air. Or, maybe you need to stare out the window and just let your mind float for a bit. Maybe it’s something else.
Doing any of those things is going to help you hear a deeper thought that might be getting drowned out by all the thoughts about what you’re supposed to be getting done.
Maybe that deeper thought is about how you really want to be spending your time. Or about bigger changes that might need to be made so that you don’t feel as tapped out.
As it relates to work, if you work for yourself or are in a job where you have a lot of autonomy so long as you get your work done, really it’s up to you to set some limits around when you will and won’t work; how many projects you take on; getting clear on what rates you need to charge in order to be able to do an amount of work that also gives you time to replenish and live your life.
We are at a crossroads where a lot of people are realizing we have been giving everything to our jobs
And while we need top-down strategies like more flexible work schedules and things like subsidized child care and affordable housing so that we don’t have to have such a high monthly nut to make every month just to have a place to live, food to eat, and kids taken care of. But those top-down strategies don’t come without a lot of advocacy and leading by example of individual people. So as Ghandi said, you’ve got to be the change you wish to see.
I will say this–taking time to replenish yourself helps you do what you need to do with more efficiency and clarity. So it doesn’t have to be a zero sum game of, oh I took a few hours to be lazy and now I’m three hours behind. If you hadn’t taken that break, you might have dillied away a lot of those hours because you just didn’t have the oomph, and you wouldn’t really be that much farther ahead.
And if you’re in a work situation where you don’t have a lot of autonomy with your time, you may need to document the ways you’re continually expected to be on, or perhaps think about how you can organize with your other colleagues to advocate for more flexibility.
Daily Tiny Assignment
Your tiny assignment is to notice where and when you feel lazy and honor that desire to do nothing, and to push back against any feelings of guilt or shame that might come up. I support you finding ways to do less! Because it’s in those lazy moments that you’ll really be able to hear what you might truly need.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Dr. Price that he shared with NPR:
“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. A lot of times we pour so much energy into being impressive at work, satisfying all the demands of our friends and family and just trying to overachieve in every possible way that we don’t really listen to that inner voice that tells us, “Here’s what matters most to me in my life. Here’s what I really believe in and value. And here’s how I really would live if I wasn’t just setting out to satisfy other people.”
Here’s to figuring out how we really want to live our lives instead of setting out to satisfy other people.