Did you know that August 10th is National Lazy Day?
As you can see, we’re kicking the celebration off a day early! What can I say? I didn’t earn the nickname Lazy Mary for nothing!
(Yes, that’s a real nickname that I had for a while. I was working in a public school on a Caribbean island and spent all of my free time lazing on the beach. I bet you would too!)
Shouldn’t we be busy trying to break the stigma and stereotype around “lazy, entitled millennials”?
Yes, actually—that’s exactly what I’m here to do today.
Let’s start this conversation with a radical question:
What if laziness does not exist?
The idea that “no one is truly lazy” was first introduced to me a few years ago by my mother. She is a licensed mental health counselor who has worked with clients of all ages and backgrounds.
Over the course of her work, she has counseled many people who feel guilty or ashamed of their “underachieving” ways due to health concerns that prevent them from being as “productive” as society, family, or peers expect. These people are frequently labeled as “lazy,” by themselves or others around them.
I did some digging into this idea and found a social psychologist and professor by the name of Devon Price who has studied and written about the root causes of "laziness." They have concluded that laziness does not exist.
Their basic hypothesis is that when a student does not complete work or follow instructions, it is usually not due to laziness but rather to barriers (seen or unseen) that are preventing them from carrying out the task at hand.
Think about the last time you were “lazy” about completing a task that you needed to get done. Why didn’t you want to do that thing? Was it because you’re just inherently lazy… or was there anything else going on?
Maybe you didn’t know where or how to start on the task. You felt intimidated, so you kept procrastinating on it instead.
Maybe it was a task you really, really dislike doing, so you just kept putting it off because you were dreading it. (Pssttt, we can take over loads of menial tasksthat many business owners and entrepreneurs dread.)
Maybe you were too tired to work on the task at hand, and you really did need to take a break and just rest.
This brings me to my next point…
High quality rest leads to higher productivity in the long run.
It sounds counterintuitive, but Berkeley researchers seem to be finding a clear link between rest and productivity.
Think about the last time you were running on little or no sleep. You probably felt a bit slower than usual, and may have had a hard time focusing on anything. You drink a coffee or chug an energy drink, but then you might feel shaky and anxious all day.
You make it through the work day and get everything done, but you feel exhausted by the end of the day. Your quality of work is probably lower than it normally would be.
Compare that scenario to what it feels like when you wake up after a good night’s rest. You have time throughout the day to take breaks. When you are working, you feel focused and productive.
You breeze through your to-do list and provide high quality work. At the end of the day, you feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. You are able to actually enjoy your evening hours now in some fun and relaxing activity.
If I had to bet, I’d bet that you spend more time in the sleep-deprived zone than you do in the well-rested zone. It’s ok—it’s probably not even your fault.
We live in a workaholic culture that praises us for being overworked and sleep deprived as if being the “busiest” were the best badge of honor we could earn in our careers. Many of us feel forced to live in this cycle to provide for ourselves and our families. You may have no choice but to work long hours every day.
That’s all the more reason why you need to prioritize your rest.
If you can’t get 8 hours of sleep every night, start with giving yourself just one 10-minute break in your day. Use those 10 minutes to read a book, meditate, or eat a snack without checking your email.
Speaking of taking breaks…
Going on vacation might make you more likely to get a raise.
I know that sounds like a crazy claim, but this isn’t just Lazy Mary talking from the beach. This data is coming straight from the Harvard Business Review:
"People who took fewer than 10 of their vacation days per year had a 34.6% likelihood of receiving a raise or bonus in a three-year period of time. People who took more than 10 of their vacation days had a 65.4% chance of receiving a raise or bonus."
Yep, you read that correlation correctly. Looks like you’ve got a 30% higher chance of getting a raise at work if you do go ahead and take those days off.
I don’t know about you, but I’m headed to the beach after reading that!
When was the last time you took a vacation from work—even just one day off? What’s stopping you from doing so?
If you feel like the entire world might collapse if you take any time off, that’s probably a sign that you need to take some time off.
Give yourself some time and space away from your responsibilities. When you come back to them, you’ll be ready to tackle your work load with a fresh mind and rested body.
Need more down time?
In honor of National Lazy Day, remember: you are worthy of guilt-free rest any day of the year that you need it.
If you're wishing that you could head for a nap right now, but feeling like you’ve got too much on your to-do list... Get in touch with us! Millennial Assistants will be happy to take some work off your plate so you can celebrate your own National Lazy Day any day you want!