Are there any positive benefits of laziness and procrastination?By my estimation, I would be getting paid around $20,000 a year (commission factored in) to do precisely nothing and be super lazy.
It was awesome. I liked it. I like doing nothing.
For about 3 or 4 hours a week, sometimes, I would walk around Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan and do nothing.
That was around $150-200 a week, right there.
Some weeks I'd sit in the kitchen for 7-8 hours and stare off into the distance while people shuttered in and out and pretended to call people and do their job and be busy. I would do nothing in the kitchen, on most days.
That was probably worth around $350-400 a week.
One day I went to a local Lenscrafters without telling my boss and got an eye-exam, some contacts and a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, and that took about two-hours. I basically did nothing there, too.
I got paid $100 for that, and my company paid for the rest of my contacts, so that was basically like getting paid $220.
I had mastered the art of doing nothing. It was brilliant.
I wanted to run and tell my boss about my new shift in perspective and all of the nothingness I was doing and how he was paying me to do essentially that, but I quickly realized that he probably wouldn't have appreciated that.
Coworkers would comment, because I'd gone from being someone who would grind 8-9 hours a day on the phones, to somebody who would pretty much take half of the day off and walk around in nature and sit around in the kitchen and do nothing half of the day, and people thought that was absolutely insane, but I still did okay.
I had a coworker who would come up to me and ask, hanging out with the homies again, Kilcoyne even though I was hanging out with nobody and just blankly staring out the window, and, you guessed it, doing nothing. And I would laugh because it was funny.
I'd be like, yeah, you caught me, dawg! and just continue staring out the window and doing nothing and appreciating life. Some days I felt like going to the museum and I probably should've, because nothing was insanely fun to do.
And I was still getting paid, because I was on salary and because that's how life works and because I was doing my job.
But in those four or five or six (maybe) hours that I'd work, I was pretty productive, because I didn't really have much of a choice.
There's a lot of value in being lazy.
The Absence of Busyness
"They're busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they're addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence." - Tim Kreider, We Learn Nothing
There's this strange notion in the world that time spent doing, regardless of how unfocused, tired or anxious/depressed you are is time spent being productive.
Which, as with most things, is fundamentally bullshit.
People are grossly unproductive most of the time, and the fact that people spent so much of their lives and energy simply sitting at a computer fiddling away on things that don't matter is merely a reflection of how off-track we've gotten as a society.
In fact, studies show that our productivity dips pretty hard in the early-afternoon, and peaks at around 10 a.m. If I ran a company (yeah, good point, I don't) I'd probably send them home in the early afternoon and have them wrap up whatever else they need to get done at home and not care so much about the facade that is being in the office and looking productive (which is exactly what it is, a facade).
We don't focus on things that matter. Instead, we focus on things that make us seem busy. Like email and dumb meetings and more email.
Good examples: staying in the office after five because there are still other people in the office, just to give off the vibe that, yeah, we work hard, and yeah, we get shit done, when, in reality, that's just being wasteful with your time.
I was the ultimate time-waster, way back when. I'd go into the office, slam my head against the computer for 8 or 9 hours and people would be like, kudos, you work so hard! and I'd want to shoot myself in the fucking face after an absurdly long commute back home.
Laziness is Smart
A few months ago, at an event I was hosting, a pretty crucial person to our show still wasn't there and our show was about to start in five minutes, and I started freaking the fuck out because I was like where is that person!?
We had to delay the show 15-minutes in front of a few hundred people. It sucked.
But I couldn't do anything. So I did just that: nothing. I just kinda sat around and acted really lazy and procrastinated doing anything. And everything worked out. That crucial component showed up, we were able to get on with the show, and everything was fine. Nobody noticed. It turns out they had car trouble.
Doing nothing is pretty crucial. Here's how to do a lot of it. How to reconcile your laziness to get shit done:
If you read just about any interview, top-suggestion, expose, whatever, with any successful person, most of them will generally say something along the lines of, get the most important thing done first-thing. See: Tim Ferriss, Debbie Stier, James Clear, etc.
The truth is, days suck, friends suck and pretty much everyone else in your life (aside from yourself) doesn't want you to be successful and do cool things, so they're trying to sabotage you with their needs and their desires.
If you get the most important thing out of the way first-thing in the morning, then you'll have an entire day left in which you can do nothing - including those bullshit emails you have to get to, meetings to talk about drivel, phone calls to rehash what you already laid out in an email, your friends, etc.
I think this is like the white-yuppie thing to do nowadays, but I've found it to be incredibly helpful, and studies show that it can have a pretty serious impact on anxiety, stress, etc.
Sometimes I would sit at my desk, while make phone calls and just, like, meditate, and be zen, and Namaste, or whatever. Sometimes when I felt super stressed, I'd sneak away to an empty conference room and sit there and just meditate for like 10 minutes. Sometimes I'd feel better. Who knows, though.
Meditation is essentially just that: the art of doing nothing. Of putting your phone on silent, ignoring all of the stupid thoughts that are running around your stupid, reactive head and just taking some deep breaths and not giving a fuck.
I'm still terrible at it. You will be, too. But it's good for you.
3. Don't React
James Altucher used to have a lot of friends and money and a happy marriage and he wasn't always depressed, then one financial crisis came and then he lost all of his money and then his friends and then his marriage and everything hit the fan.
Now, he's fine. He's better. He's a pretty prolific writer (especially on Quora) and he has some friends and is married.
And he's also a huge advocate for doing nothing. I pretty much stole his writing style.
When you're stressed or anxious. When you're tired. When you're paranoid. When you're angry. When you have any sort of emotion that requires some sort of reaction, sometimes the best thing to do is nothing.
Instead of reacting to everything which is far too typical of a response and kills our motivation and our energy and pisses us off, focus on unreacting. (Not a word, I know.) Of just sitting there and doing nothing and seeing what happens.
Most things will be fine.