How busyness is a sign of laziness
What do you think of when you hear the word lazy?
Sitting on the couch with the remote in hand? Maybe wearing sweats? Gazing outside but can’t be bothered to actually go outside? Getting nothing accomplished? Grabbing a bag of chips from the cupboard for dinner?
According to the dictionary laziness is the disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to act or to exert oneself. That’s basically how I’ve always looked at it.
Then, while watching this YouTube video (sitting on the couch, wearing my sweats, and maybe feeling a bit lazy 😜) Tim Ferris said this:
"Indiscriminate action is reflective of too little thinking and planning and is one of the most destructive forms of laziness because it is socially reinforced. People will encourage you to do that - 'don't just stand there; do something'. You will become an expert in doing the trivial things well. That is a travesty and huge waste of life."
Wait? What? Being overly busy can be a sign of laziness? I had to stop and think about it for a minute, but it makes a lot of sense. Often if we’re being lazy, we’re not doing the things we should be doing. I feel like procrastination can easily fall into the “lazy” category. And I can be very guilty of that!
We’ve all heard the saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail!” especially in teachers college, am I right? My hubby’s grandfather, an entrepreneur, always used to tell his grandkids, “Prends le temps de prendre le temps” (take the time to take the time). This is a very important step. If we skip over it because we don’t feel like putting in that initial effort to plan, we are essentially being lazy, and we end up being reactive rather than proactive.
We catch ourselves running around and doing ALL the things, with little results, because we didn’t stop first to plan and think about what tasks are worth our time. So we use all of our time to just do all of the tasks, regardless of how unimportant they are.
I've been guilty of this recently. I tend to skip the important planning and thinking stage and therefore end up running around doing all the things that really aren't making a difference in my business. I get too many irons in the fire and feel spread thin without a lot of results. All because I didn't take the time to figure out what I should be doing as a priority. And sometimes, being lazy for choosing the easy thing to do instead of the right thing to do.
I had never thought of being busy like this as laziness before. I often thought of it as redundant, unimportant, or "busy work", but I think this is an interesting way to look at it. I'm being lazy in those initial moments and it’s costing me a lot of my time and energy. A sign of laziness and procrastination.
I see this a lot in the classroom. Teachers running around like chickens with their heads cut off because they didn’t prioritize what actually needs to get done. Let’s face it, there’s always a million things you COULD be doing, and when we don’t take the time upfront to think and plan, we end up doing so many unimportant tasks that we really have nothing to show for in the end.
What’s even worse, is that so often society awards these people that are "busy" because we assume they are super productive. Look at everything they are doing! They must be killing it! Look at that super mom! Or, best teacher ever for putting in countless hours before and after the bell!
Here’s a thought…maybe they're just less efficient?? (I totally understand that some teachers live and breathe their job and I’m not talking about those who consciously choose to be there because that’s where they want to be for 12 hours a day.) I’m talking about the average teacher who is trying to get by but feeling overwhelmed by all the things and is wasting away the hours in their day working on insignificant tasks rather than living their life outside of the school.
The amount of hours we put in or tasks we get done really don't matter. It's how we spend our time on the few tasks that DO matter that's important; how we take the time up front to plan and prioritize in order to save ourselves the wasted hours. Stop being lazy and take the time to take the time.