And the Most Productive People Are...
I've since been reading David Allen's work on Getting Things Done. He has said on numerous occasions that he considers himself to be truly lazy which in turn motivates him to find the most efficient way of doing things. I completely relate to this. I recently created a rough plan for landscaping my yard so that my grass cutting can be made easier. As few complex turns as possible. I'm not sure whether I'm super lazy or just looking to avoid that annoying feeling I get each week when I cut the grass and wonder whether I could simplify the process.
Many saints have had a thing or two to say about the danger of laziness. These of course temper all the enthusiasm for day to day laziness. In fact, the tradition discourages persistent laziness, calling it "sloth". Persistent laziness doesn't really acknowledge one's gifts as from God. The result: a life wasted instead of maximized for doing good.
So can you be lazy and wildly productive?
Of course! The key is in observing a few principles:
- Every gift and talent is from God. Every minute of the day can be returned back to Him as gift. Kind of puts a new spin on time management, doesn't it?
- Life balance is virtuous. I've never admired the saints who burned out- there is a limit to the doing within a stretch of 24 hours. Resting, recreation and relaxation are important so that one can keep up all of the doing.
- It's ok to admit to being lazy. It all depends on what you do with it. If you're logging your undone projects and scheduling their completion, that's not really being lazy. More like pacing yourself for a seven course meal. You'll get there but you realized that Rome wasn't built in a day. Or the completion of your To-Do list for that matter.
- Continual improvement is the key. I don't think of myself as being an A Type worker. I enjoy the quiet moments of the day and find relaxation to be well...relaxing. I just try to balance this with 1-2 bursts of focused work sessions each day. It doesn't sound like much but look around you- very few people continually do this. As David Allen said, "Don't just decide that you need to set a meeting--decide whether that's an email to send or a phone call to make, and to whom. Watch things move." Watch it move and your career will benefit.
Thought for the Road
“Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry, all things easy. He that rises late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night, while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.” Benjamin Franklin
*Photo by iFatma