Seven ways I'm lazy.

Busyness as excuse

I've been meaning to go to the gym to do some strength training.  I've been thinking about it, planning for it, and talking about it for weeks, but I haven't actually managed to go regularly. Why?

The thing that I've been telling myself is that I've got a lot going on already, what with church, kickboxing, a very interesting job, writing these pieces, wanting to spend time with my friends and family, and having many other projects I want to do.

In fact, I've felt like I've been doing a crappy job with all of these things because it's difficult to give them the focus and time that they deserve.


Regular readers of this blog know very well that I'm not suffering from crippling perfectionism.  I publish a lot of things that are much less good than I'd like them to be, and quite a few blog posts that I think are fundamentally flawed.  Sorry.

Even so, I often let the desire for the perfect defeat the good.  Let's take going to the gym as an example again (it's been on my mind).  The best time to go is in the afternoon, and there are some dangers associated with heavy lifting in the morning.  But going after work would put me in the rush, and going in the middle of the work afternoon would introduce a two hour interruption to my day.  So better not to go at all, right?

As thin as one-ply tissue paper that's just been used.

Lack of structured rest

Resting and relaxing properly is a necessary part of living life to the full. When I don't get enough rest, eventually my brain starts working begrudgingly and my body starts to say "no".

If I get much less than seven hours sleep, I work much less effectively. Also, it's very easy for me to drink enough that everything the next day is significantly harder than it is otherwise.

I'm not saying it's always culpable Sloth when I stay up late or when I go out celebrating: life is more than work or duty.  But some times I know that the consequence will be a whole day when I need to be productive and all I'll be good for is watching cat videos.

Lack of attention

We don't fall into attentiveness, we have to pay it.  It takes effort, and so much of the time I can't be bothered to spend that effort.

I really hate it when I do this, because it means doing two things crappily at the same time.  I'm only partly enjoying whatever talk or meeting or conversation I'm in, and I'm only partly enjoying whatever email / daydream / conversation / article I'm distracting myself with.  There's a real sense in which a lack of attention denies life.


Perhaps the most frequent way I'm lazy is by always picking the easiest and most pleasurable item on my todo list.  I should be doing this thing that's important and has a deadline, but that involves something awkward like learning or having a confrontational conversation or getting off the couch, so instead I'm doing to read this paper on scalable computing that I've been wanting to read for ages.

This one is insidious because I can spend a whole day doing productive work, sometimes even work that's beneficial to others, but still actually be lazy, because I'm avoiding things of greater importance or urgency.

Not taking initiative

The canonical example is being out at UDS with a group of people who want to go to dinner but as a mass are entirely incapable of actually making it happen.

When I see this happen, I almost always think "You know, if I just stepped up and took charge, they'd probably be grateful, and we'd get to eat sooner." And then I think, "I've spent the whole day talking and listening and explaining and negotiating.  Someone else can sort it out."

Another example: I'm writing this in Markdown right now.  I'll then paste it into blogger and then edit it to be formatted correctly.  That's stupid work for a human being to do, and I really ought to make a machine that does it for me.  But that would involve holding myself to a higher standard, and switching into a different mode of work, and ...

Number 7

And you know what, sometimes I simply can't be arsed.

This post is part of the Alphabet Supremacy project, a collaboration between myself and Bice Dibley. Next week's word is "music".