Unpopular opinion, laziness doesn’t exist. Yeah, that thing you feel bad about all the time? The flat, dull emotion you feel that you try to beat out of yourself and teach your children to demonize? It’s not a real thing.
Don’t believe me? Alright, let’s break it down. I’m willing to bet that when you feel like you’re being lazy, it’s one of four other scenarios that you aren’t going to solve by telling yourself to just stop, you know, being lazy.
I know this because I’ve done this myself. Especially in November. I’m trying to do so much in November every year it’s not funny. I’m finishing up all my projects for the year, and writing a novel, and prepping for the holidays. And I have had some days when I felt downright lazy. I don’t want to work or write or clean. Mostly what I want to do this time of year is craft, read and bake.
This is not laziness. And if you’re feeling the same way, it’s not laziness for you either. Here’s what it is instead.
You’re doing too much
Who isn’t prone to letting their too much gene get the better of them this time of year? I mean, it feels very much like the only way the holidays are going to happen is if I make them happen by sheer force of will.
But it’s not just this time of year. I have been trying desperately to slow down over the past year. But I’m a freelance writer and indie novelist. That is work. And since those two things don’t pay all the bills, I also have a day job. Sometimes it feels like I live in a constant state of being behind deadlines. Even though I’m the one who made all my damned deadlines!
But doing too much at once leads to just one thing, shutting down. Which to some looks like being lazy. Well of course I’m going to spend the evening watching Rick and Morty while playing Webkinz if I spent all day running from the second I got up. Of course, I’ll have all the motivation of a slug in the sun on my days off if I do nothing but hustle six days straight.
I’m not lazy, I’ve earned a break.
Okay, but what about if you haven’t done all that stuff? What about if you coasted by at work, left the dishes in the sink and all of your passion projects are collecting dust? What about if you accomplished nothing for the past day, week, month and you’re still sleeping late and eating take-out for dinner? That’s got to be laziness, right?
Or you have an executive disfunction and the sheer volume of things you need to do is too much to process. You’re looking at a list, either mental or on paper, and there’s just so much to do you don’t know where to start. Or you’re so overwhelmed at the scope of a project that you just can’t imagine getting it done.
I’m not lazy, I’m overwhelmed. And there are things to do about that. I’ll do a whole post on overwhelm if you like. But there are a ton out there already. If that’s your issue, it’s not going to do you a bit of good to beat yourself up because you think you’re being lazy.
Maybe it’s not the day-to-day list that is getting you down. Maybe it’s instead starting on a new project that you just can’t get behind. Maybe you need a new day job. Maybe you’ve always wanted to write a novel, or buy a storefront, or start painting. But you’re just too lazy to get started.
Yeah, or maybe you’re just comfortable. Maybe you don’t love your day job, but you’re worried a new one could be even worse. Maybe the thought of starting a creative venture is scary because it might fail. Maybe you just enjoy your downtime and don’t want to start anything new.
Well, if you’re comfortable, do you want to step out of that zone? That comfort zone?
Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. But you’re not lazy. Not everyone’s got to push themselves to reach for the stars all the damned time. Maybe you’re happy just, you know, being happy.
But if you’re not, then get used to not being comfortable. It’s worth it.
You don’t care, and that’s fine
Have you ever noticed that a lot of what you feel lazy over are things you didn’t give a damn about to start with? The things that you procrastinate on are often things that you just don’t care about. Things like decorating for the holidays, cooking dinner, volunteering at your kids’ school, cleaning out the garage. I’m sure you’ve got your list. I procrastinate when it comes to housekeeping.
Why? Because so long as my house doesn’t smell and I’ve got a spoon to stir my coffee I don’t care about what my house looks like.
So I do the minimum, and I do it as fast as possible. I also blast music and sing along at the top of my lungs while I do it. This is great because it’s both fun for me and insufferable for the rest of my household.
I’m not lazy because I don’t want to wash my windows or mop the floor. I just don’t care if these things get done. And that’s okay. It’s my life.
It’s your life. If you don’t care about something, don’t do it. Leave your energy for things you want to do.
And don’t ever talk about being lazy again. It just does not exist.