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Being Labelled Lazy Is a Compliment

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Being Labelled Lazy Is a Compliment

How often do you use ‘lazy’ as a word to describe yourself? We tend to label ourselves as lazy because our parents would call us this if we didn’t help them do the washing up, or perhaps we couldn’t be bothered to do our homework the night before and ended up copying someone else’s work the next day.

This can then develop into adulthood when we find ourselves spread on the couch putting off the mountain of laundry that’s been piling up for days. We then deem ourselves as lazy and feel all the negative connotations it brings. But we’ve all been there. It’s certainly not a positive, affirming word we want to be associated with yet we all feel it at some point.

But what if laziness wasn’t a bad thing? Could we accept it as a good trait to have?

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Why Is Laziness Deemed As Wrong?

Laziness has always been synonymous with lack of motivation and idleness. It’s boils down to the failure to do what you’re meant to do knowing you have the ability to do it. It’s the feeling of procrastination and distraction that leads us to feel a sense of failing. And that’s just ourselves. If other people deem us as lazy, it serves as external confirmation and deepens the negative belief about ourselves.

Laziness is deep-set in our mindsets as negative because Christian tradition sees being slothful as one of the seven deadly sins. Therefore, it’s been weaved into our way of thinking from early on and we’re naturally condemned for not making the right amount of effort.

Can Laziness Be a Positive Trait?

Laziness will always exist so should we really condemn it so much?

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The idea of being lazy is very subjective and individual. Modern technology could be accused of turning us into sloths when it comes to fast-paced information. We use emojis to express emotions instead of writing out how we feel, we can share information at the click of a button, we can text someone instead of picking up the phone or meeting face to face.

But there are positive ways laziness can enhance our lives that can perhaps lead us to consider being idle as a force for good.

It’s Gives You a Chance To ‘Be’

It’s often deemed negative for our personal growth to be constantly busy and distracted from ourselves. Laziness gives us a chance to just relax and ‘be’ without the need to do the next thing on our list. There’s great power in doing nothing and if we are able to release the idea that we should be doing something else instead, it can be beneficial to our well-being.

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It Can Make You More Efficient

Having a lazy attitude does fundamentally mean you want to do less. However, this also creates a want to find a more efficient way to achieve your tasks. This is why many of the best inventors admit that their creations are born out of personally wanting to spend less time on a particular task. Ben Franklin once said he was, “the laziest man in the world. I invented all those things to save myself from toil.”

It Makes You More Lighthearted

Accepting your laziness and owning it means you can be lighthearted about who you are. The moment you start judging yourself or allowing other people’s judgement of you to affect how you feel, the negative connotation of laziness will win. Knowing you’re lazy and being able to laugh about it is a great step in acceptance and self-love.

Laziness Births Creation

Carrying on from the idea of ‘being’, once our minds are in a state of relaxation, it is naturally opened up to more inspired ideas and action. Dr Sandi Mann, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire believes laziness and boredom is an important cog in the societal wheel. “When we are bored we look for neural stimulation. One way to achieve this is to go inwards and let our minds wander and daydream. When we are freed from the shackles of conscious restraints, we may see things differently and look at new ways of doing things.”

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You Focus on Smaller Jobs When Putting Off Bigger Ones

When we’re so consumed with the bigger ‘more important’ tasks, the smaller ones often get put off or not seen to at all. Laziness can mean turning this on its head; ignoring the big jobs by focusing on the smaller ones. While it may seem priorities are skewed, its a productive way of going about things and often clears the way for the big stuff when you eventually get round to it.

Last Minute Tasks Create Greater Focus

If you’re lazy, you no doubt put the ‘pro’ in procrastination. But putting things off to the last minute actually creates more efficiency because your mind is single-focused and time conscious. Therefore, you haven’t spent longer than you really need to on a big task or project and more energy is pumped into it over a shorter period of time.

Time To See Laziness Differently

So, perhaps laziness shouldn’t be deemed so negative. As long as you know the right time to snap out of idleness and use focus and time-shortage to work efficiently, or use it as a time for reflection or creativity, it can actually serve you an advantage. Own your laziness and use it for success.

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Featured photo credit: tookapic via pexels.com

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Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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