In Defence of Laziness

lazy buggy?

Lazy (l z )
adj. la•zi•er, la•zi•est
Def: Resistant to work or exertion.

I always considered laziness to be a bad thing.

From childhood I equated laziness with idleness and if I was ever seen to be idle my mother would very quickly find me something “useful” to do. As an intelligent child I learned always to be busy (I preferred the activities I chose myself to the chores my mother chose for me!) and so developed a work ethic that has stood me in good stead ever since.

However, I was recently working with a manager who told me that he delegates the most difficult tasks to the laziest person in his team because he always finds the simplest way of doing things. This set me to thinking. An idle person would find a way to avoid the task but a lazy person might find the quickest, simplest way of completing the task. Maybe idleness and laziness are not synonymous after all.

People who are perceived to work hard and put in long hours often have a tendency to overcomplicate tasks. As a coach I constantly meet managers who are so busy that they have lost the ability to stop and think, they rush headlong into tasks, make and rectify numerous mistakes and finally reach their goals in a state of mental and physical exhaustion.

What if we were all to stop and think before taking action? What if we looked for the simplest solution rather than the most immediate? Perhaps we would discover that we have more time in our working week, maybe we could even go home on a Friday with a completed “to do” list.

So next time someone comes into my office and finds me staring into space I will simply smile and say – “It’s Ok, I’m just being lazy”.


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