What it’s like to be lazy

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I am utterly indolent, slothful, lackadaisical, and all other synonyms for lazy. However, I am still a functioning human being. Let me tell you what that’s like.

Everyone recognizes the value of hard work. They treat the industrious person as the ideal, at least here in the U.S. Even regardless of the tendency of the industrious to succumb to diseases of stress (cancer, heart disease, etc). My post today isn’t about telling those folks that they are working too hard. My post is to share how my lazy brain works and motivates me differently. I suspect many of the lazy out there will find their brains work much the same way.

There are people reading this post that will see it and find themselves surprised at my degree of laziness. Most especially the people who have known me only at work. But being lazy does not mean that I never accomplish anything. It means I am constantly looking for ways to have nothing needing to be accomplished. I can assure you that I never achieve this by simply putting in more hard work. Can I figure out a way to get that one hour process down to 20 minutes? That will leave enough time to read an interesting short story. Can I develop something that will turn two jobs into one? Who doesn’t hate moving the clothes from the washer into the dryer?

I value my relaxation and leisure more than any person I know. Sure, everyone likes down time relaxing, but I’m the person who aligns my goals to acquiring more of it. If I’m working my ass off to move up at work it’s because I want to have enough cash to retire early. I never get too bored on vacation and desperately desire to return to work. I’m working so that I can have a permanent vacation.

I am almost entirely led by impulse. My ability to complete any task is forever at war with my desire to just do whatever I want. I need rewards to stay motivated to work. Those don’t have to be monetary. If I work hard at something and everyone tells me how smart I am for a week, it was worth it. If I suck it up and put away the socks (god-forsaken laundry devils) and my husband showers me with kisses, worth it. I would never do hard work for hard work’s sake. This is why I would never go to the gym to be skinny, but I might do it to get to live out my retirement on the coast for longer.

I’m indulgent. I can read an entire book series in two days because I love it. I mean, have you guys read Divergent? It’s book-binge utopia. I have to buy mini ice creams because that pint of chocolate chip cookie dough will be obliterated before I give it a second thought. I’m much too lazy to exert will power. I’d rather make it inconvenient for myself. Luckily for my employers, my indulgence also means that I will often give 100% to something I think will improve my job. Sometimes that’s too much, but such is the life of the lazy.

I live for short term goals. Urgency will always get more out of me than importance. This is likely why I enjoyed waiting tables for the length of time that I did. I am capable of executing long-term plans, but I enjoy putting out fires. My five year plan would consist of 60 thirty day plans. Unless, of course, we’re talking about a plan that will get me on the beach sooner.

I am constantly in a state of reprioritization. In almost every situation I weigh the pros and cons of expending my energy and using my time. For example, in a biology class in college, my professor had a policy to drop the lowest test grade. He also only had tests for grades. Everything else was voluntary. Prime lazy A ground for me. I looked at that and knew that if I invested enough time and effort to study hard for the first two tests, that I could simply choose one of the two last tests to study for. I did just that, made three A’s and turned in the cumulative final with just my name on in. Those of you tied into the morality of hard work may be appalled at me by now. But I put in just as much work was necessary to get the optimum result. In classes where more was expected, I either chose to put in more effort (based on what the outcome would get me) or I chose to make a B. This is what it’s like to prioritize due to laziness.

I assign value to everything. Maintaining an acquaintance has a low value. You want to talk about real life hardship, let’s get to it, my friend. Our friendship is valuable. You want to talk about the weather, can’t we just part ways and watch reality TV instead? My husband’s happiness is valuable. I’ll prioritize it accordingly even if that means exerting time and energy. My distance Uncle who hasn’t seen me in 25 years, his happiness is not valuable. No you may not attend my wedding in place of a friend. Organize a reunion.

I hurt feelings because I find it so inefficient and wasteful to go in conversational circles. I may take enough time to choose the words that convey exactly what I mean, but that does not mean the words will be gentle ones. I’m too lazy to walk you through my perspective in stages so that you may grow accustomed to it. This means that if you are the kind of person who is willing to hear me, then honestly and openly agree or disagree with me, I will likely cling to you. You are valuable to me.

All in all, being lazy really isn’t so bad for me. I have been successful at work, happy in my marriage, and surrounded by real friends all while still being an inherently lazy person. Laziness is simply about different priorities. So don’t be so quick to judge the lazy. They may accomplish more than you know.

Be well, friends.

MM

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Imbalance

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I have found when talking to anyone that is struggling with dissatisfaction that there is often a problem of imbalance in their lives. They poured every ounce of their effort into a relationship that eventually dissipated, or they used all their emotional and financial resources to get ahead at their job just to look around and find themselves yearning for a life partner, or they gave up their whole identity to raise their children, who suddenly want nothing to do with them, and a friend or job is not to be found. We live lives of utter imbalance. This is not to stay that a stay at home mom cannot enjoy parenting instead of a corporate career or that a career woman must get a man or be depressed. What we need to recognize is what each one of us holds as our true needs and what our balance should be.

Mandatory reading for my job at one time was the book Juggling Elephants. An entire book dedicated to the idea that we sustain a lifestyle that doesn’t allow us overall satisfaction, let alone happiness. The book goes on to tell you that you simply have to give each part of your life the attention it is due.

Are you a career badass that desires a partner but hasn’t gone on a date in months? Balance that out! Are you a stay at home mom that desperately wants to work on a kick-ass program and watch it succeed? Balance that out! Are you a girlfriend who wants to feel like more than just half of a relationship? Balance that out!

Clearly if it were as easy as that, we wouldn’t find ourselves in this position so often. How on earth do we end up imbalanced to begin with? Often, it’s because we go after low-hanging fruit. An intelligent person with a knack for training and a great handle on office politics, that person gets easy satisfaction by excelling at their job. Then they add a little more effort and garner a promotion. Give it a bit more, and there’s an opportunity to travel the world on behalf of the company. Suddenly that person finds themselves traveling five out of seven days a week and is never rooted long enough to find a mate like they planned to back when they started that job. So what to do? HOW do you balance it out?

1) Recognize the different areas of your life. Work, relationships, and self. Also recognize that they should be of fairly equal importance.

2) Time study yourself – Four days in a row, say Fri-Mon, write out what you are doing/thinking about and for how long. Spend 3 hours daily texting your man? Eight hours at work plus another two thinking about it? Write it all down.

3) Take this information and sort it out. What goes under the Work category? Relationships? Self? Are you seeing a pattern? I know I did.

4) Get rid of as many things as you can in your over-full category. Don’t text your boyfriend three hours each day. Call or meet up with him after work for an hour instead. Don’t spend your whole weekend Pinning things and reading in your pajamas. Make a date with your sister to actually MAKE one of those damn crafts. You see where I’m going with this.

5) Make goals and track your new balance. Getting out of our comfort zone is usually a pretty anxiety filled endeavor. So make a plan. Send out a calendar invite to your sister, don’t just tell yourself you’ll get around to asking her. Have a sit-down with the boyfriend telling him you are going to focus more on moving up at work and won’t be texting during the day. Then lock that phone in a drawer. Tell your boss that you are interested in local job opportunities and ask her to keep you in mind for them. Just take action! When you try your time study again, it should look more balanced.

Balance is key to finding happiness. You wouldn’t want to only eat chocolate cake for the rest of your life. Eventually you’d think, “I would kill for a carrot right now!” So don’t allow your life to become so one dimensional. It’s not about “having it all.” It’s about not being consumed by one thing. Be multi-faceted, friends.

MM

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