Stressed Out? Here’s How – And Why – You Should Learn To Love Being Lazy
Hey! You! Stop that awful stressy guilt you feel when you're not busy, because we've got four brilliant reasons for doing SFA.
When someone like Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates says, “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it,” we start to re-evaluate our stance on having to be on the go, 24/7. Women, in particular, seem to suffer from a sense of guilt if we’re not constantly ‘doing’, but downtime is vital for both our mental and physical wellbeing. In fact, science says so – research published in acclaimed medical journal The Lancet last year found that people who worked over 55 hours a week were linked to a 33 percent greater risk of stroke and a 13 percent increased risk of developing coronary heart disease compared with those who stick to the recommended 35 to 40 hour week. It’s food for thought.
It’s also true that all work and no play makes Jill a very dull girl – c’mon, you’ve gotta have something other than office politics to chat about, and when else will you catch up on boxsets, new brunch hangouts and this summer’s steamy novel, if you don’t reward yourself with some me-time snuggled under a blankie on the couch with no plans bar Netflix and snacks? And apart from the tips listed below, here’s the other thing we love about being completely and utterly lazy: it’s 100 percent free. Yay!
Do you ever put things off – like, you know, essays, studying, important work deadlines and projects – until the absolute last second? Of course you do, you’re human. John Perry, author of The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing, knows we’re prone to avoidance tactics, but he doesn’t necessarily think procrastination is a bad thing. In fact, he reckons we probably spend a lot of extra time on tasks than we need to. “When you get a task, you have to think about how important it is, and how good of a job you really want to do. You should limit how much time you put into tasks that aren’t all that important in the long run.” License to slack, granted.
Doing everything by hand is old-school. Now, we live in an age where you can control a lot of the basic functions of your home via your smartphone – there’s Nest, Climote and Hive from Bord Gais to control central heating, for example – so how about bringing a little bit of that into your working life? If you use social media tools as part of your job, get onto Hootsuite and schedule all your updates to various channels in one go. Job done! Depending on your software, regular emails you need to send and meeting reminders can be automated, and you can collaborate with colleagues using Google’s Drive function, which acts as a virtual whiteboard. No more laborious printing off of reams of paper, or trying to track email chains. Win!
Are you the person in your friend group who always, always sorts out the weekend plan? Maybe you’ve stepped up at work, gotten a new team member, just don’t trust anyone else enough to do the job for you, or you regard delegation as abdication of responsibility? Shake your shoulders, and learn to start sharing out tasks. Because here’s the thing: if your team members are eager to take on more and are willing to learn, then taking on extra responsibility will help further their career path too. Once you’ve explained the task and they’ve grasped it, you’ll have a stronger working unit, leaving you to concentrate on jobs that are more worthy of your time.
Turn off perfectionism
We live in a culture that values perfectionism and many of us boast about our perfectionist ways. But it’s not necessarily a great thing, when you break it down. Needing things to be just so in our work or home life can be akin to chasing an impossible dream, or setting a bar that’s just too high. We’re setting ourselves up for disappointment, and we may never finish what we started, which could lead to other problems like a sense of failure, anxiety and depression.
“Perfectionism is recognised as a factor that is linked with suicide,” confirms a recent study published in the Review of General Psychology. Author John Perry has a way to quit, thanks to our pal procrastination. “Most of us tend to be perfectionists. The problem is when we get a task, we want to do the best job that’s ever been done. Procrastination is a way of giving yourself permission not to do a perfect job, because usually a perfect job isn’t required.”
This article first appeared in STELLAR’s July issue. The September issue is on shelves now!
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