Intelligent Laziness

Laziness can be a great tool when applied in the right way. I’ve learned to apply it in small doses throughout the day. A five minute lazy break is sometimes necessary for me to get through a rough moment. Maybe it’s a slow walk to the stationary supply cabinet for a fresh pack of sticky notes that I don’t really need. Other days it’s going to the bathroom, locking the door and doing a slow dance. I try to take “lazy breaks” a few times throughout the day, so I can stop to assess how I really feel.

“I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention – invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.”
- Agatha Christie

When I don’t take the time to balance out my hard working side with a little laziness I get too entrenched in my feelings, and at the end of the day I have trouble pulling myself out of the muck of emotions. Getting stuck on any one emotion is a waste of time; it is better to move on and enjoy the moment that you have before you.

Frustrated and Needing a Break

I have found that taking a lazy break is easy, but giving myself permission to do it and then getting back to my task is difficult. It takes intelligence to apply the right amount of laziness. A few jobs back I had to write up a proposal for a new project and I kept getting frustrated with my research. My Internet access was blocked from work related sites, which meant that I had to contact the “IT help desk” and get them to unblock my restrictions. The whole process probably added an extra two hours to my frustrating day. I was lucky that the IT responded back promptly; on other occasions I wouldn’t have been able to continue the project until the next day. All I felt like doing was finding a corner to crawl up in to take a nap. The obstacles lowered my motivation, making every choice a chore.

Use the Lazy Break as a Slingshot

Redirecting my focus back to finishing the project was hard, but I made it happen. I used an intelligent lazy break, talking to a co-worker about digital cameras, to get my mind moving in a positive direction. When I got back to my desk I didn’t think about all the work that I had to complete, instead I picked one of the easier tasks and finished it. Afterwards I began writing some of the proposal and I was done two hours later. I used the lazy break as a way to slingshot myself into completing the work.

The feeling of being lazy for a few minutes and not thinking about work eases the tension in my muscles and thoughts. When the tension is released, I’m able to refocus my energy to getting the job done.

Sometimes we need a little more “lazy time” than just five minutes and if you can take the time to watch a sporting event or lay in a hammock then you can really release the built up tension. Our minds can only take so much stress before they feel like they’re going to implode. If I overstimulate myself, my body gives me signals like a tight back or a headache. When this happens, I take a little longer lazy break to relax myself. I’ll go for a walk and just look at the trees or the houses in the neighborhood. If my thoughts go back to the work then I smile and refocus back on the trees. I won’t get the job done as quickly, but I appreciate feeling relaxed instead of all tense and worked up.

Every life needs a balance between action and inaction, otherwise our minds and joints will break down. Try applying a little laziness to your day; use it for five minutes and then let it slingshot your thoughts back into action.

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