Productivity and GTD
An enemy of action: Laziness
Laziness is probably, along with fear, one of the greatest enemies of actions. Although often used as a derogatory term, the fact is that laziness is somehow part of the animal and human nature. It pushes us to avoid certain actions, movements or works, and there are many possible causes:
- The action won’t provide a worthwhile benefit.
- The work won’t have the recognition we want.
- The action can cause physical pain or a negative mental state.
- We don’t consider ourselves sufficiently prepared to undertake such activity.
- We aren’t motivated enough.
It’s about not wasting energy, but it becomes a problem when it becomes a constant. Then we forget our expectations and ideal lifestyle, and we end up getting accustomed to what we have.
Like everything else, laziness has its proponents (In Defense Of Laziness, Hal Cranmer, 2002) and its detractors. From my point of view, one of the immediate consequences of laziness is that makes us waste a lot of time. And our time is finite, it will never come back. To me, wasting time is a way of wasting life.
How can we fight laziness? We must be aware of how we work to get the necessary tools to combat our weaknesses and enhance our strengths. Sloth manifests itself in various ways and we must learn to recognize the symptoms:
- Procrastination. Any reason is good to defer for another day what we should do now. Normally we replace these activities by others which, although irrelevant, are more pleasant to do. We are always waiting for ideal conditions (energy, enthusiasm, etc.) to perform certain actions. Since these conditions are often unrealistic, postponing things is not a good idea.
- Good intentions. It occurs when we often say we are going to do something and we never do that (such as doing exercise, learning another language, etc.). Things are created twice, first in mind and then in reality. We just have to take the next step.
- Self-deception. We convince ourselves we will be able to do something as soon as we intend doing it. But we never try to do that.
- Perfectionism. We avoid doing things because we want to do them very well. We must begin, no one starts out knowing.
Sometimes, laziness is a problem of self- and time-management. A solution would be, among other things, ensuring proper time management, focusing on the tasks that are most important and have closest ending dates.
See also: Laziness (Wikipedia)