Two concepts we tend to lump together are laziness and being unproductive.
But I don’t think that’s necessarily true.
I think it is possible to be lazy and be productive at the same time; it just depends what areas of your life you’re seeking to improve.
Don’t believe me? Here are 10 examples of times when it’s okay to be lazy while still improving yourself and your life.
1. When your spouse wants to spend time with you
I’d definitely say this qualifies as one of my top reasons for being lazy. I might feel obligated to do laundry or get some writing done, but if my better half would rather watch anime and play our WiiU instead, I’m game for that too.
The time you spend with your significant other can drastically impact your relationship, so make sure that you put it higher on your priority list than paperwork or household chores.
2. When you’re stressing yourself out
I’m a chronic busybody. If I’m not doing something productive for my writing, there’s a good chance I’m trying to clean everything and anything in sight. But I’ve found that all this frantic movement really does is stress me out, and that I don’t get much productive work done when I’m in my must-fix-everything mode.
If you’re stressing yourself out about managing bills, work or your home life, take an hour or two to chill out. You’ll be doing something beneficial for your health and you’ll also find that when you return to the tasks you want to get done, you can focus on them a lot more calmly, thus making your work more productive.
3. When you’re missing the little things
Trying to study for finals or finish some paper work as the sun sets? Take a few minutes to watch the sky change colors and then get back to work.
Watching the sun set, or just making time for the small pleasures in life in general, is thought to have a number of healthy benefits. Plus, they can serve as a great source of inspiration and motivation for future productivity.
4. When you feel a cold coming on
With the seasons changing, most of us are likely to experience a slight onset of sickness. However, if you handle the early signs of a cold by allowing yourself a lazy day, you’re much less likely to get an all-out illness.
Some people actually try to work harder when they feel a cold coming on, believing that they’ll be able to get all of their work done before they start to feel truly awful. However, there will always be more work to do; nipping your cold in the bud is the best thing you can do to keep your health and productivity maxed.
5. When you’re no longer being productive
Sometimes we confuse productivity with simply doing things. And that’s an oversight. Just because you’re working on something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s productive work.
If you’re no longer interested in what you’re working on or you’re experiencing a mental block, your time may very well be better spent taking a nap or grabbing dinner. That way, your mind gets time to recharge and you can resume your task later and with better results.
6. When you’re feeling exhausted
There’s a difference between simply not wanting to do something and actually being exhausted. Whether you’re exhausted mentally or physically, it’s wise to listen to what your body is telling you.
If you’re physically exhausted, take a night to veg out in front of the TV or plan a relaxing evening playing board games. If you’re mentally exhausted, just the opposite may be true for you. Exercise is a great way to let go of stress and release some extra endorphins to make you feel good.
7. When you’re spending too much money
While soup and sandwiches might not be ideal for dinner every night, they can definitely be ideal if you’ve been going out to eat often. Eating at restaurants is fun if you do it once in a while, but if you’re eating out almost every night of the week you’re spending tons of money and likely eating less healthily than you could be.
Having a lazy meal at home can be a nice change of pace – for both you and your wallet.
8. When you’re planning too aggressively
Much like my busybody syndrome, I’m also a chronic planner. But trying to plan things too far in advance becomes pointless quickly.
Many unexpected things will likely happen to you in the next few weeks, so don’t waste your energy trying to plan and organize everything in advance. Be lazy and go with the flow. You’ll be less stressed and the weeks ahead of you will seem more interesting.
9. When you’ve run out of ideas
New ideas and boosted creativity come much more easily to a rested, lazy mind than to a frantic, overactive one.
If you’ve got some serious mental blocks about an upcoming project or task, play a mini-game on your computer or browse your favorite websites for a while until you feel nice and rested. Then go back to brainstorming and see what new and creative ideas you can come up with.
10. When you’re done
Our society places a lot of value on the number of hours we spend working each week. But the number of hours you spend working at your job shouldn’t matter nearly as much as the quality of work you produce.
If you can produce high quality work in less time than the next guy, I say well done. If you need more time to achieve high-quality work, I still say well done.
The point is that it’s useless to work towards a time-centric goal when you should be working towards a quality-centric goal. Working for quality and not hours can not only improve your career, but also your satisfaction with yourself and the options available to you later in life.
If you’re done with your to-do list, you deserve some lazy time. You just need to hold yourself accountable for the quality of work you’ve produced.
I hope this list has given you a new perspective on what it means to be lazy, and the ways in which it’s okay to be lazy in your own life.
When do you need to be lazy? You can tell me your thoughts in the comments section below.
Image by Ales Krivec
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.