Short Story: The Truth About Being Lazy

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I used to be a very hard worker. I was young, full of energy and wanted to climb the ladder all the way to the top. I remember my first internship, my manager gave me a week long task and I finished it within a few hours. I distinctively remember working 36 hours over a weekend to get our production servers back up and running. I used to go above and beyond for my manager and for my team. Then, one day, it all went away. I realized that if I worked super hard, or worked just enough, I’d get the same end result. This mentality has plagued me for the last six years. Every job that I have taken, I gradually have gotten lazier and lazier. Maybe it was because I realized that I was just another cog in the system. Maybe it was because I realized the carrot was never within reach. Whatever the reason, I know it is not an attribute in my life that I want to keep carrying forward.

My last job made me super lazy. I wasn’t engaged, wasn’t part of any major decisions, and just didn’t really feel like I belonged or was part of the team. I can honestly say that these conditions created an environment for me where I just didn’t care to put in the extra effort to impress. Instead, I spent all my time thinking about what it would be like to chase after my dreams. I would do my time, work my eight hours and then the rest of my time was spent on figuring out how I could quit my job in order to pursue my dreams. I would wake up super early to work on my dreams and then continue to work after work as well. Therefore, why was I only being lazy while I had to work my 9–5?

I realized, I’m not lazy. I know I cannot work for long periods of time, but if I break my work down into 25 minute activities, I can focus and crunch out a lot of work in that time frame. Lazy I am not, unmotivated, maybe. But, now that I’m my own boss, I have to be extra careful to make sure I am motivated and not lazy. With all the things I have to do in order to grow and scale my business, it is very easy for me to just sit back and watch TV. I’ve been doing this for three weeks and so far I’ve managed to keep my motivation high and my laziness to a minimum. But, how am I doing this? For the last twelve months, I literally was super lazy between 9–5. How did I change my behavior?

I think being lazy is directly tied to not having a purpose. When you do not know what your purpose is, it is difficult to make progress towards something that doesn’t exist. It is easy to just put things off and worry about the problems another day. Building my startup is super important me and only I can control the outcome. Before, when I was an employee, the problems of my team were not really mine. If I left, I knew that just about anyone could step in and continue. The problems I faced at work were also problems that were human made. As in, these problems were all because my team couldn’t communicate and work well together. None of the problems I faced in my last job challenged me from a technical perspective, so I just zoned them out. None of the problems stimulated me enough to want to try to fix them. Having a purpose and really believing in the mission is super critical to not only overcoming laziness but to also motivate you to go the extra mile. Also, when you have too much going on, I have found that it is easy to fall into the trap of laziness because it is so much easier to just not take action than it is to figure out what actions need to be taken.

I’ve managed to keep all my tasks written down. Every single thing that I need to do is in my planner. I have found this to be the most effective way of curbing my laziness. Every time I sit at my desk, I have my planner, right there open showing me everything that needs to get done. I plan out each day, and I just pick from the top of the list. I work for 25 minutes, take a 10 to 15 minute break and then come back for another 25 minutes. Doing this over the last couple weeks has really helped me stay focused, motivated, and productive.

What do you think? Would you agree with my thoughts on laziness? What about my two solutions for over coming laziness? Does having a purpose in something, as in it means something special to you make you less lazy? What about writing things down? Do you find it easier to be lazy when you know things need to get done, but you just do not know how or where to start? I’d love to hear from you and your thoughts!

I’m an engineer working professionally in San Diego, CA. I’m trying to improve every day and use this space to document. Connect:

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