We can’t always be hyper-productive 100% of the time.
Even Elon Musk has days where he’s not building rocket ships and just sitting around eating donuts with coffee. I always believed the lie that you have to be hustling your face off every minute of the day to get what you want.
I’m not saying we should all be lazy; what I’m saying is we are all going to have periods where we are lazy.
If you think you’re never lazy and always on then you’re lying to yourself — and here’s why that could be a good thing.
Ever had a hot shower and stood under there for more than ten minutes? You’ve just had a moment of laziness.
Ever sat on the couch and done nothing for thirty minutes with your feet up without reading a book on how to improve yourself? You’ve just had another moment of laziness.
Ever gone and bought a coffee and just sat there nursing it for a really long time? Yep, you guessed it, you’ve been bad again.
Let me ask you a question though: “How clear were your thoughts during this period of laziness?”
I’m willing to bet your answer is something along the lines of “great, fantastic, amazing, etc.”
That’s because during moments of laziness you do your best thinking. It’s when you’re lazy that you can switch off from the pursuit of your goals and think about what the fuck you’re actually doing. If you’re always running the race, then you can never take a step back and think about the overall strategy.
Many of us spend our entire life constantly chasing goals but never really thinking about what we’re doing or why. If we spent more time in deliberate laziness, then we’d see our life for what it is and be able to make the necessary changes that will take us to the next level.
I find that when I’m being lazy, my deepest thoughts reveal themselves to me.
Standing in the shower as an example and just doing nothing helps me think. It’s when I ask myself those really deep life questions like “What the f*ck does all this mean when I’m dead?”
The state of mind you need to do deep thinking is not that of a phone full of notifications, overstimulation by the internet and a bottle of vodka. Clear thinking happens when you’re being lazy.
Your mind feels like it’s free and can do what it wants. Your minds not trying to ‘be present’ or be creative or solve another business problem. Your mind is just doing nothing at all and that’s when it can do the deep thinking that you desperately need to do.
We’re crying out to do more deep thinking. We need it more than ever.
There’s so much FOMO that we’re exposed to and when we’re lazy and do nothing, we can escape societies pressures on us.
In some ways, I’ve become lazier.
I’m doing less than I’ve ever done before.
I only have two goals for the entire year as opposed to about ten the year before. I’ve accepted my newfound laziness as a way to think and be creative. By becoming what people perceive as lazy, I’ve separated the unimportant from the important.
What people see as me being lazy is actually just me being creative. My creativity thrives in nothingness, silence and a bit of laziness.
Productivity has really become unfocused work.
The opposite of laziness is productivity. While people look busy at work and we all think we’re so efficient because of tech, we’re actually more unproductive than ever.
We’re doing unfocused work full of distractions and notifications and very little deep work.
The difference with laziness is that it creates leverage in your mind so that it can relax. A relaxed mind can do focused, creative, interesting and deep work.
A stressed mind just tries to do the bare minimum and tick off an endless list of to-do’s that lead nowhere. Unfocused work is emotionally painful and even worse than laziness.
The laziness of doing nothing translated into more productivity.
Last week I was feeling guilty after three weeks in Europe and no blog posts. My Medium and LinkedIn engagement decreased by two thirds.
I felt guilty because I’d been lazy exploring the world on holiday. You know what’s really nuts though? While being completely lazy and doing no blogging at all, I had more ideas than I’ve ever had. I returned home to Australia with a different approach to blogging and an even deeper why!
While trekking through the coast of Italy and exploring where the 1992 Olympic Games were held, I managed to turn my mind off and stop thinking about blogging. By not thinking about the thing I loved, I came home more productive than ever. The laziness of doing nothing translated into more productivity through increased creativity.
My writing has gone up a level.
My ability to come up with ideas has gotten better.
My formula for blogging has become more efficient.
All this was thanks to laziness and doing nothing at all for three weeks.
Use laziness to think about what matters and then act.
“Using laziness as a tool is all well and good but don’t mistake this article for a permission slip to become a fat slob and do nothing.”
At some point, ideally after your lazy period, you still need to do the work. Laziness without some form of action will not be the panacea you’re hoping for. Laziness on its own is not what you are looking for.
Periods of laziness followed by action is the tango dance that works well. A bit from Column A and a bit from Column B. Periods of laziness and periods of work.
I’m no longer afraid to be lazy.
When I have a period of my life when I’m lazy, I’m no longer going to be angry about it.
Why? Because I know what follows is some of the best work I’ve ever done and that’s what matters to me.
You have the same opportunity. Don’t be afraid to be lazy once in a while. You can’t always be on. Sometimes you have to switch off. Laziness is a get-out-of-jail-free-card you want to put into your schedule at least once a week.
Hack your productivity. Use laziness to your advantage.