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Last Updated on January 30, 2018

Being Labelled Lazy Is a Compliment

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.

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 July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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