How I (not) learned to be lazy

Laziness is good, scientists say. It helps to reboot, achieve great results, even extend life. But some, for example, Olya, are still trying to fight her. Who wins?

When I announced at the editorial board that I was taking on the topic of laziness, my beloved colleagues laughed. Masha Botvinina, who knows me better than others, kept asking – when is my plan for a session of idleness? At 6-31 and 15 seconds AM, probably right? Somewhere after exercise, weeding flowers, breakfast, wet cleaning and shower with a fifteen-step beauty ritual?

You know, it even hurt me. Why are these jokes, eh? Now I will study scientific sources, talk with a dozen specialists, compose an answer to Masha for a hundred points and prove that I am actually … very good … I can … what? .. What is it called?

The psychologist I went to for three years repeated: the first step to solving a problem is to admit it. Well, I admit: I’m a fan of plans. Schedule the day, break it down point by point, and then cross it out – buzz!

But it was not always so. I used to have another problem – getting myself together to do something. I procrastinated, procrastinated and once procrastinated to the point that I had to go to the same psychologist. My question was: what to do if you just want to be lazy?

We worked, then another and another, and then I myself learned to be a psychologist, so, obviously, the process began. The internal motor, which did not want to start in any way, started working with increased power. And I accelerated until every minute of my life was filled with useful activity. It got to the point that I calculated any movement for maximum efficiency. For example, reaching for a spoon with one hand, I managed to push the drawer with my knee and switch the song in the player with my nose.

It would seem, who can be hindered by good performance? .. But in fact, there was nothing healthy in my behavior. When I was not doing something useful, I felt ashamed and guilty. And again it was necessary to do something about it.

Why am I even ashamed to be lazy?

I began to understand, and found out that there are many reasons why people feel guilt and shame when they do nothing. I also have such a reason, and also more than one. And the fundamental one is a high level of anxiety. To feel at ease, I need to keep my life in check. When I am lazy, I let go of the reins. And I’m ashamed.

But it is impossible to control everything objectively. At any time, something can interfere with your plans, and everything will go wrong. In addition, if our actions were governed only by reason and logic, I would have developed an algorithm that allows us to worry exactly in moderation, no more and no less. But I have emotions, previous experience, hormones, finally. Therefore, I deal with anxiety in two ways. When I realize that I can’t influence anything, I don’t do anything at all. When I realize that I can influence certain things, I try to put things in order at least in my area. But just “some” order does not suit me. I need perfect. If not everything is laid out on the shelves, then chaos is about to burst into my life. And swallow her up.

Another reason why I am ashamed of laziness is in past experiences. I am the granddaughter of front-line soldiers; I spent most of my childhood with my grandparents. This generation saw laziness as a terrible crime. A worthy person did not sit still for a minute. Therefore, in retirement, grandparents have got themselves not only a garden, but also a huge field of potatoes. So that laziness does not have a single chance.

When you have a reactive grandmother before your eyes, who constantly cleans and cooks for a large family, managing to work in two places, you yourself do not notice how you get used to doing something all the time. Publicly useful is desirable.

In general, heredity in this regard is not easy for me, I admit. Meanwhile, scientists are constantly puzzling over the problems of laziness. Don’t be lazy, so to speak 🙂

For example, they came up with two main theories of laziness: psychological and evolutionary. According to the first, we are inactive due to the fact that it is difficult for us to work for a delayed result. Yes, the monthly bonus is wonderful, but today is such a beautiful sunny day that I don’t want to dig into the reports. Therefore, we better lie down. This is an indulgence of laziness.

Another theory – evolutionary – is that, being lazy, we cannot but blame ourselves. According to her, in our ancestors, inaction literally led to death. Gape, admired the flower – you were immediately devoured by a predator. Remember, in “Alice in Wonderland”: “You need to run as fast just to stay in place, and to get somewhere, you must run at least twice as fast.”

Well, actually, the question.

Laziness: to fight or to score?

I am used to having to do something with laziness. Deal with the urge to mess around. Find motivation. Deal with fears.

And then suddenly it turns out that being lazy is useful. Lazy people come up with non-standard solutions to avoid routine. As Bill Gates said, “I’d rather hire a lazy person to do hard work because he’ll find an easy way to get it done.”

The Times magazine has a great article on the benefits of laziness. According to her, pauses are good for us: they help us to relax, so that later we can better focus. When we are idle, we plan more successfully, including long-term goals. Idleness is an opportunity to think about the future (according to research, in bliss we think about it 14 times more often than when we are drowning in routine).

How I learned to be lazy

In short, I began to learn to be lazy. Oddly enough, here you have to act according to the same algorithm as when you learn not to do this. For people who are too lazy to work, psychologists advise to come to an agreement with themselves and work for a limited time. For example, 10-20 minutes. We need to set the alarm, experts say. Most likely, you will get involved and even after the signal, you will continue to do things. And if not, ten minutes of work is ten minutes more than nothing at all.

So, you can also be lazy according to the schedule, I realized. (Moreover, scientists desperately recommend this method.) And she began to write down the obligatory breaks in the plan for the day – somewhere between breakfast and the conquest of the world. Have you worked on the text for three hours? Pamper yourself – run to pee. I mean, stay on the plank, or at least lie down in shavasana. In order not to waste your precious 30 seconds of rest.

At first, it didn’t get anywhere. Standing on the plank, I studied the clumps of cat hair under the bed and mentally added a cleaning clause to the plan. She lay looking at the ceiling – and thought that it would be nice to whitewash it. I watched the series and began to simultaneously write down thoughts about scenarios that I would like to develop in the future.

But the main thing: I constantly felt guilty for not doing something really useful. How much would I have done in these five, ten minutes, an hour, I thought! And over the weekend! Instead, I do the damn thing.

This, of course, was no good. After all, if you have a rest – then to the fullest, and not in thoughts of repair. So I decided to do nothing at all during the breaks.

Just lie down and lie down. However, if you have read up to this point, then you know without me whether I succeeded or not.

Did not work out.


Will I ever be able to learn to mess around – tastefully, without looking at the to-do list and feeling guilty about wasted time? Honestly I do not know. Yes, after long negotiations with myself, I still learned not to plow at least on weekends. But I still can’t look at the ceiling and contemplate the stars inside myself.

So one fine day off I started a garden on my balcony, and a vegetable garden on my windowsill. Now I water my plants, heal them and harvest (I have one tomato and three strawberries this year). It remains to find a place for potatoes.

If you mentally imagine yourself simultaneously in the role of a psychotherapist and his client (I hope, I don’t go to a psychiatrist with this), then you can get to the bottom of the truth. More than anything in the world, I worry about the transience of life and am afraid to die before I do whatever I wanted.

Therefore, I try to fill every minute with meaning. But maybe the meaning of at least some of them is meaninglessness? I promise to consider this thought as soon as possible. Maybe even outside the plan. Although – who am I kidding? …

Are you often lazy? Do you scold yourself for this?


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