To really do nothing…is easier said than done.
“Leave nothing for tomorrow that can be postponed for the day after tomorrow,” was a piece of advice about sloth from Mark Twain (1835–1910).
To be lazy or slothful is an art. A person who is able to be lazy without suffering from a bad conscience or pangs of guilt is more productive when he or she returns to work. Regeneration is especially important during stressful periods in order to avoid running out of steam. The occupational hazard of our time, burnout, is intrinsically caused by the inability to be lazy.
Laziness is not exactly the same as relaxation. When spoken in the imperative, “Relax!” is already an order to do a kind of activity: to “do” something, somehow, that will relax you.
In this sense, laziness is the opposite of relaxation—it’s truly doing nothing: daydreaming, strolling aimlessly, and going with your gut intuition.
Laziness also consists of being able to say “no.” “The ability to pronounce the word ‘no’ is the first step to freedom,” according to the French writer Nicolas Chamfort (1741–1790).
This “no” is the key to self-determination.
Is my job, and all that I’ve worked so hard for, really what I want? Can I afford to let myself be lazy? It’s worth thinking about every so often.