Who says the world needs Type A personalities? For everyone who’s really more of a “Type L” — as in “lazy” — embrace this highly beneficial trait (also because it’s easier than changing it).
Ever think our society is too obsessed with productivity and willpower (not to mention the relentless pursuit of capitalism)? I mean, search for “productivity” on Amazon and you’ll get nearly 85,000 results for everything from books to supplements.
But search for “laziness” and you’ll get ways to overcome laziness. Why all this shade against doing nothing? Productivity is overrated and being lazy is king. Here are 10 reasons we should reinstate laziness as a virtue.
1. Lazy people are actually highly efficient
There’s a famous quote going around that says, “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” Truth. Why waste time with unnecessary motions?
This quote goes back to Frank B. Gilbreth Sr. (not Bill Gates). While watching bricklayers, he found that the laziest guy was really the most efficient. Gilbreth’s resulting inventions increased productivity and efficiency in terms of construction, manufacturing, and medicine.
If someone accuses you of being lazy, just say, “I believe you meant to say highly efficient.”
2. Napping is just the key to being more productive
Not only did The New York Times claim that sleep is the new status symbol, but a University of Michigan study also found that taking a nap at work could increase positivity and tolerance. Did your spreadsheet with hours of work just crash on you again? Instead of getting mad, go take a nap! First, you can’t feel frustrated if you’re sleeping. Second, you could wake up feeling a lot less troubled.
3. Smart people are more likely to be lazy
Send this information back to anyone who’s ever questioned your intelligence or told you that you had to exercise more: According to a study in the Journal of Health Psychology, folks who participated in more physical activity were more likely to have a lower threshold for engaging in tasks that … well, involved thinking.
Although the difference between these two groups was less pronounced during the weekend — so it seems like the lazy weekend is the great equalizer for brain power — it’s good news for those who like to keep it in low gear on their days off.
4. Being lazy also means being realistic
Laziness isn’t the same as depression. And laziness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Believe it or not, there may be an upside to this symptom of depression. A recent, small study found that people with depression in a lab setting spent less time on unsolvable problems. There’s a blessing in giving up.
5. Being lazy is a free health and wellness tool
Let your mind wander into creative zones for free by … being lazy! It’s zero time, zero effort, and zero dollars spent on this wellness tool.
In an interview with The Independent, Dr. Isabelle Moreau says that “laziness is a performative notion.” People labeled as lazy might just not fit into society’s ideals — different societies have had different views of laziness during different time periods. They’re not necessarily bad or wrong. During the Enlightenment period, says Dr. Moreau, aristocrats were proud of their laziness and saw it as a badge of honor.
6. Being lazy means you’re probably having fun
There’s a reason binge-watching Netflix is the preferred way for many people to spend their Saturday nights.
What’s more fun: Getting dressed up in tight clothing, wearing uncomfortable shoes, spending a lot of money, and trying to shout above loud music, OR snuggling at home on the sofa in jammies?
7. Lazy Sundays are a thing for a reason
Nothing says Sunday Funday like sleeping in, ignoring your alarm clock, not looking at your to-do list, and eating some waffles while doing the crossword puzzle. Let Garfield the cat be your guide.
8. Laziness is restfulness
There is such a thing as too much exercise. Allow yourself rest days with zero guilt.
9. Laziness is meditation and (some) yoga in disguise
Laziness involves sitting still and doing nothing. So, being lazy is like meditation. And meditation has numerous proven health benefits:
- lowers blood pressure
- reduces anxiety
- decreases pain
- improves sleep
Yoga, too, leaves plenty of room for being lazy, as you’re encouraged to listen to your body and move at your own pace. If your pace is that of a snail, that’s fine!
10. ‘Monotasking’ is better than multitasking
Monotasking, like being lazy, really enables people to focus and perform the task at hand better than when we try to do a whole bunch of things at once. You’re at your best self when you’re deliberately doing less.
One study found that even a brief interruption can cause disruptions and derail one’s train of thought, and ... sorry, I forgot what I was saying there, because I went to close another browser tab and got distracted by a cat video.
Next time you feel overwhelmed by all the things on your to-do list, instead of plunging headfirst into your tasks, take a break and be a little lazy. Ultimately, your body and mind will thank you for it.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject, "Lazy Line Painter Jane" by Belle and Sebastian is one of the best songs ever. Just be lazy for six minutes and watch the video or listen to the song.
Janine Annett is a New York-based writer who focuses on writing picture books, humor pieces, and personal essays. She writes about topics ranging from parenting to politics and from the serious to the silly.