January 28, 2016

The Necessity of Laziness.

Hammock, napping, sleeping, nap

Time to push the reset button. Our minds come alive when our brains take a break from conscious processing.

In general, laziness, is not an admirable trait. Lazy people appear unwilling to work, idle and slothful.

But laziness is not such a bad thing—in fact, it is necessary.

Lazy people are more efficient than we think. The delay we label as laziness, may actually be a time out to think of a more efficient way to complete the project. When we resist embarking on a new project, chances are we are overwhelmed by its complexity. What most people don’t realize is that the amount of time most tasks take to complete is less than half the time that we believe they will take to complete.

In computer programming, where efficiency is all, the concept of laziness tells us it is not necessary to compute a value until it must be known. And, if the value is never necessary, it is never computed.

In other words, if you don’t need it, why bother?

In our quest to be productive, we end up spinning our wheels and going nowhere. Studies show increased work hours reduce productivity and increased stress levels lead to illness and disfunction.

Those who work moderate hours are the most productive over the longer term.

For example, the Greeks are some of the most hardworking in the OECD, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, producing over 2,000 hours a year, on average. Germans, on the other hand, are comparative slackers producing about 1,400 hours each year. The key fact is German productivity is about 70% higher,” showing that “slow and steady” does yield the results. (via the Allen Capital Group)

Those who run, habitually, know that it is wise to take a day off every now and then.

The same is true with thinking. “Time is the space between [our] thoughts.” Hence laziness is just like a day off from running. We all need to take time to empty our minds and slow down our thoughts.

Like any muscle in the body, our minds need to rest too.

Naps are an easily identified form of laziness. Those who take a late morning / early afternoon nap are shown to vastly increase their productivity. As little 10 minutes, of shut eye, can immediately increase productivity for as long as 155 minutes. But, nap for too long and the opposite is true: grogginess and disorientation.

So the answer is a little laziness, in moderation each day, is necessary.


Some highly effective nappers:

Winston Churchill                   took a nap every day

Bill Clinton                                15 to 30 minute nap really makes a difference

Thomas Edison                        power napper

Leonardo da Vinci                   took 20 minute naps every 4 hours

Eleanor Roosevelt                   took short naps before speeches

Margaret Thatcher                  2:30 nap time


So in the end, maybe laziness is just delayed gratification.



References and further reading:

Why Being Lazy is Good For You.

Implementing Laziness.

10 Reasons You Should Stop Working Long Hours Today.


Relephant Read:

34 Keys to Everyday Productivity.

Stressed? Overwhelmed? Take a Yogic Power Nap.


Author:  Jane Coco Cowles

Assistant Editor:  Laura G. Williams / Editor:  Renée Picard

Image: Extremis / Pixabay 


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