How to overcome laziness. To achieve much efficient reward at work, you must know ways to overcome dullness, sleepiness, or whatever you may call it. The Oxford English Dictionary defines laziness as, “Unwilling to work or to be active; doing as little as possible, this single definition… has single-offhandedly been used by a myriad of parents throughout the years to attack their lazy sons and daughters:
I’m sure you have heard a couple of these…“Lazy people don’t become successful”, “Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and never succeed”, “A lazy person, with all the talents, will never succeed a hard working person”, “Be more like your sister, she’s a hard worker” “Offer the lazy an egg, and they’ll want you to peel it for them…” just to mention a few.
You probably get the gist of the whole construct of laziness from the quotes above. Essentially, anyone who practices laziness has condemned themselves to a life of mediocrity and as a result, they will never be successful. And of course, they cannot do anything for themselves and inherently leech on everyone else around them.
You know, like the guy in high school who for some reason never did his homework and would always copy someone else’s work.
However, we would like to look at both sides of the coin that is laziness.
How is laziness bad?
Is there an acceptable, even necessary, type of laziness?
What exactly is creative/strategic laziness?
Why Laziness is frowned upon? Let’s start off here. Why is there a negative connotation attached to the word laziness? Why is laziness viewed as a bad thing? Why do most people believe that laziness is on the opposite end of success? The story of Tony, the lazy mechanic could explain this.
Tony inherited his father’s car repairs shop, where he works as a mechanic. His customers, family and friends have labeled him Tony the Lazy Mechanic because of how often and how lengthy his bouts of laziness are. He prefers to play video games and watch TV instead of repairing his customers’ cars. This is not to say that he doesn’t do the repairs, he just does it in his own pace and time, which means he puts in as minimal effort as possible in order to get the job done.
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Disadvantages of Being Lazy
1. Makes You a Procrastinator
Tony’s habits have placed him solidly in the list of the stereotypical lazy, he does the bare minimum to stay alive, he spends most of his days stuck in front of the TV, which could have been a good thing if he was an acclaimed movie critic or a professional gamer, but he is not. He is a procrastinator, he doesn’t keep his word and the label he carries around doesn’t necessarily help matters. Here’s why being as lazy as Tony is not a good thing. First, laziness leads to procrastination.
Every moment that Tony picks up his game pad to beat one more levels at a game he is obsessing over is time that could have been used to perform his duties. When you postpone a task because you are unwilling to work and want to do as little as possible at the moment, you aren’t really taking it out of the picture.
You are just simply pushing it forward and the end result will be either the poor performance of the task you were supposed to do or a complete non-performance. This procrastination leads to a lack of reliance on you as a person and on the duties that you are tasked to perform. Seeing as he was raised in a mechanic shop and apprenticed under his dad, Tony does have the skills to perform his duties.
However, his lazy habits have made him unreliable as a friend, family member and a mechanic. Customers cannot be assured that they will get their repaired cars in time, and even if they do, the repairs may have been done in a shoddy manner. His friends cannot be assured that he will pick them over his video games, should they need help from him.
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2. Makes You Irresponsible
Similarly, his family cannot be assured that he will provide for them because the business, which is their primary source of income, is not doing very well due to his laziness.
3. Negative Impact on Your Health
Being lazy has a negative impact on your health. Sitting on the couch and lying in bed for long times is unhealthy for you, and can lead to cardiovascular conditions such as coronary heart disease. Heart problems are usually as a result of the weight one gains when they do not expend any physical effort. Depression, back pains and diabetes are other health risk factors associated with laziness. Just ask Tony about his back. It has been said that practice makes a man perfect, and the truth of this statement can be found in the fact laziness begets laziness.
Therefore, on top of the health risks, unreliability and procrastination that are borne of laziness, there is the risk of being really good at it that it becomes difficult to pull yourself out of it, should you be inspired to do so. You probably don’t think much of Tony the Mechanic at this point. It is only fair then that I mention that he doesn’t like the ‘Lazy Mechanic labels much. Sometimes, he genuinely does want to pull himself up by his bootstraps and ditch all his lazy habits for good ones. Instead, he finds himself pulled back to the lazy habits as he has practiced over the years and is now a pro at it.
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Tips to Overthrown or Overcome Laziness
This is not to say that it is impossible for Tony to overcome or stop being lazy; it just would take a lot of conscious, deliberate effort and time in order for him to manage to free himself of this vice. Finally, and even more concerning, is the effect that laziness has on your mind. When you are constantly lazy, your mind becomes weak as it is used to making the easy choice to just sit back and do nothing.
Therefore, after a long period of practicing laziness, you will find that your motivation to do things is short-lived, even when the potential benefits are great. You will find it easier to remain in the same stagnant position than to do anything to change the status quo.
Let us look at the other side of the coin that is laziness. What exactly is Strategic Laziness? Watching TV like Tony the mechanic is not a bad thing, neither is playing video games. In fact, spending a whole day switching through distractions like TV, your mobile phone, and video games can be a healthy thing. But this is only possible if you are creative and strategic with this laziness.
Laziness is a lost art. Long hours of hard and perfect work seem to be the current standard for success. If you spend your weekend bingeing a TV show instead of carrying your work home, it is strange. If you don’t aim for perfection in the office, you are not performing optimally. As such, any type of laziness practiced by a person is frowned upon and viewed as a negative thing. Have you heard of the Pareto’s Principle? No? Yes? Essentially, this principle states that 80% of the effect in a situation usually comes from 20% of the effort expended.
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Strategic laziness: demands that you identify the tasks that are of high importance to you, expend all the necessary effort you need to effectively complete the said tasks and then spend the rest of the day doing whatever you like. The trick here is in separating the tasks that drain us of energy without helping us achieve the results we want and the tasks that could demand a lot of our attention and energy but would give us the most results.
Catherine is a master pro at to-do lists. She may not be a minimalist in her life; in fact, she does a little hoarding on the side, but her to-do lists are usually as minimal as it gets. The question she asks before putting down a word on her to-do list is whether the task is needed. Most of us are bombarded by never-ending daily to-do lists that contain tasks you might not really need to do. This usually results in either burning out after a day of doing everything and anything, or in absolute laziness, because we are afraid of confronting the tasks.
How to Overcome Laziness
Be like Catherine and overcome laziness; make your to-do list as short as possible. “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you all day.” Mark Twain probably said this in jest, but behind the funny words is a golden rule for those looking to be strategically lazy.
Brian Tracy, in his book ‘Eat the Frog!’ (This book also offer some secret guides on how to overcome laziness) talks about how you should confront your hardest and most time-consuming task first thing in the morning and the rest will be pretty easy. When you eat that frog in the morning, you are also less likely to procrastinate and be lazy as a result. However, when you start with your simplest and least-effort tasks, the frog seems scarier to eat as you think about it.
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Strategic laziness also calls for you to have breaks as you go through your day in order to recharge and to maintain your productivity at an optimal level. When she is working, Catherine takes a 30-minute break every two hours to look at her Twitter and to play a game on her phone. To an observer outside, 30 minutes every two hours is a waste of time and, possibly, lazy.
However, these guilt-free breaks that Catherine takes enable her to slow her active brain down and let her subconscious do the crunching for a bit while she gets distracted. Furthermore, since it is scheduled in, the guilt that she would have experienced if she was looking at her phone as a distraction is absent. Finally, and this is an important aspect of strategic laziness, you should schedule in some free time in a week to just bask in the glow that is laziness.
For Steve, weekends are sacred. He has a pretty tight schedule during the week, but when the weekend rolls through, he only allows himself to socialize with his loved ones, kick back and watch some football, and sometimes, just sleep. His boss sometimes feels that Steve is too strict with his weekends and could maybe pick up calls from the person that pays him, even during the weekend. To that, Steve simply responds, “I could pick your calls and do some heavily-distracted probably substandard work during the weekend, then not perform optimally during the week. Or, alternatively, I could do an excellent job during the week – which I am doing – and then not have you bother me when I am bingeing on Netflix.”
How to overcome strategic Laziness
The rule to avoid or enjoying laziness in your free time is being productive when you don’t have free time. Unwinding can only happen when someone is wound; not when they have spent their entire week on the couch, unproductive, and are now scheduling another week or three of free time. That’s just being Tony-lazy.
In conclusion; Laziness is not about its negatives alone; even though there is a bad type of laziness. Planned, or rather, earned laziness is beneficial to you as it allows you to rest, plan, and be creative while your mind is wound down. However, at Practical Wisdom, we also appreciate that strategic laziness is not exactly something you can start out of nowhere, especially if you are Tony-lazy.
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There you go, how to overcome laziness. Please if you have method of overcoming laziness that I did not mentioned please share with us in the comment section bellow. I also challenge you to mention one method you would have use in the future to overcome laziness by yourself.