In praise of lazy
Of all the new ways to work happily and productively, little has resonated more with me than the concept of doing less. Join me in the lovely land of lazy.
I don’t recall precisely when I came across the notion of lazy as a workstyle, but I know it immediately piqued my interest.
It’s not that I want to be known as idle, or that I ever see myself as such, but the very thought that I could benefit by being a little sloth-like and still have a viable business certainly had appeal.
Yes, I’ve read Tim Ferriss’s 4- hour work week, but frankly I’m sure the author works 24/7 no matter what he may profess. Similarly, Arianna Huffington’s wonderful Thrive left me with a strong sense that her focus on productivity just meant she got more done and yet did even more work.
Call me a trailblazer, but I want to work less. And if that makes me lazy, well so be it.
"I work hard when I work, but work my hardest to make work enjoyable."
I have never lived to work. I work hard when I work, but work my hardest to make work enjoyable. The old adage ‘Choose work you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ is so true.
And the way I love my work is by minimising the stuff I don’t love. Here are 3 ways I practice what I preach:
1. I sit back more than I lean in
No doubt I used to be all keen and wide-eyed, but these days I prefer to observe, listen and ponder more than speak up, connect and get seen.
As an example, I’ve recently moved into a new co-working space. A prior version of me would have viewed such a move as a great opportunity to network and hustle. Not now.
Instead of adding scores of fairly meaningless connections to my LinkedIn profile, I’ve made real connections with just three or four delightful people.
The result is I feel more relaxed and slip into the work day with greater ease. These days I spend less time at my desk and yet have increased my creative output. Go figure.
2. I embrace strategic procrastination
Leonardo da Vinci started painting Mona Lisa in 1503, but it was four years later before he finished. Did he work on it every day? Of course not. This is my ‘poster woman’ for strategic procrastination.
Some things deserve time. Time to dwell in our subconscious. When I finished writing my last book over two years ago, I knew I wanted to get to work on a new one. I put the task at the top of my list, spent ages researching and darted off in a variety of uninspiring directions.
Then I remembered I was lazy.
Putting the idea aside (but omitting to formally tell the hidden depths of my brain) I got on with other projects. Low and behold this action of strategic procrastination has resulted in a theme and positioning that makes me throb with excitement. You can follow the exploration on my new Rekindle podcast if you’re so inclined.
3. I’ve added Teflon to my toolbox
While I’ve room for more clients and my piggy bank has capacity for many more gold coins, I am as busy as I want to be.
I’m not looking for more work.
Instead I like to think of my work as the metaphorical equivalent of a mid-century Danish living room. If something yummy turns up at the front door, I’ll only let it in if I can justify removing something that resides there already. This makes me very discerning.
And that my fellow soloists is good.
I delegate to excess; say ‘no’ more than ‘yes’ and yet consistently improve my surroundings.
So will you join me and embrace a new, lazy you? Come on Tim and Arianna, let’s do this!