6 lazy habits that will help you achieve impressive results

Scott Young

Writer, author of the book “Superlearning. A system for mastering any skill, from learning languages to building a career.”

In 1850, the French economist Frédéric Bastiat published his later famous essay What is Seen and What is Not Seen. In it, he criticizes “bad” economists, for whom only the primary effect is important, and not long-term consequences.

Bastiat uses the broken window metaphor. A boy breaks a bakery window and the owner has to hire a glazier. Thus the glazier becomes richer – he has money that he can spend. It would seem that the economy is winning, but that’s just what we see. And the unseen consequences are such that with the money that went into the services of the master, the baker could buy something useful.

According to Bastiat, “bad” economists pay attention to the visible and believe that you need to “break windows” to stimulate the economy. Wise economists, on the contrary, understand that this only brings losses.

Everything seems to be obvious: breaking glass is counterproductive. Nevertheless, most of us use the logic of “bad” economists from Bastiat’s metaphor in our activities. We focus on the visible aspects of productivity and subtly undermine the invisible ability to do important work.

Imagine a person who stays in the office every day to show everyone what a team player he is. The only thing this leads to is that he does not get enough sleep and becomes lethargic. He misses the opportunity to spend time with colleagues whom he could get to know better and who could recommend him for participation in new projects or promotions. He doesn’t have time to think, so he doesn’t come up with brilliant ideas that could move him forward. However, he still attributes all his work failures to insufficient performance.

So what invisible factors influence our productivity, and what habits, often perceived as laziness, actually bring results?

1. Get enough sleep

Productivity fans idolize getting up early. Waking up at 7:00 is no longer enough. You need to get up at 6:00, 5:00 or even at 4:30 . But each of us has our own biorhythms, so being a morning person is not a good idea for everyone. For many, this knocks down the internal clock and leads to lack of sleep.

Sleep is the number one lazy habit required for high productivity. Studies show that it has a positive effect on cognitive abilities, improves memory and mood, and its absence is detrimental.

If during the day you start to nod off and you have the opportunity to take a nap – do it. The main thing is not to overdo it, otherwise you will feel overwhelmed for the rest of your wakefulness. Try a simple life hack: fall asleep with a spoon in your hand, trying to keep it a few centimeters from the floor. When you start to fall too deeply into sleep, the muscles will relax, you will drop the spoon and the sound of it falling will wake you up.

Another way to cheer up is to drink a cup of coffee and go to bed for 15-20 minutes. This combination works because the level of adenosine, which makes us sleepy, decreases after sleep, it ceases to act on receptors, and caffeine, which invigorates us, takes its place.

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2. Walk outdoors

Another consequence of prioritizing the “seeming” is that we devalue the time we spend thinking. From the outside, it seems lazy, because no one knows that in fact you are not just sitting in the park and looking into space, but thinking about ideas.

Reflection during long walks in the fresh air is one of the most productive activities. Albert Einstein thought a lot about his theory of relativity while walking. If it focused on the quantity of scientific papers rather than their quality, giving the appearance of being productive, our understanding of the universe would be much poorer.

3. Communicate with colleagues about work

Chatter near the water cooler is a clear sign of laziness. Except when it’s not.

The authors of The Riddle of the Mind, Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber, argue that humans have not evolved enough to think well in isolation. Our abilities in the field of deduction, logic and insight are designed to win arguments, not to establish the truth.

When we think about problems on our own, it is much more difficult for us to find the right solution. Many ideas that seem unattainable in solitude gain potential when discussed. Therefore, talking with colleagues about work problems is rarely a waste of time.

4. Say “no”

“If you want a task done, give it to a busy person.” I think there is a hidden meaning in this phrase. Busy people are those who find it difficult to say no when someone claims their time. That’s why they are busy.

I like the approach of Nobel laureate Richard Feynman. According to him, the real work in physics at a high level requires a lot of time. And the scientist found a way out of how to escape from people who distract him from business – to say that he is lazy . “I invented the myth that I am irresponsible. I tell everyone I don’t do anything. When asked for a favor, my answer is ‘No, I’m irresponsible’.”

Productivity is not about doing as much as possible, but getting more out of what you do.

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5. Take a vacation

“If you love what you do, every day turns into a vacation.” Sounds good in theory, but quite the opposite in practice. Even if you love what you do, you need a break to unwind and break the habitual thought patterns that keep you obsessed with work.

Traveling is not the only way to broaden your horizons, but being able to visit unexplored places (physically and mentally) allows you not to become attached to the same habits. Our routine often prevents us from finding fresh creative solutions. New impressions are needed in order not to freeze in old thinking and automatic actions.

6. Don’t do what you don’t like

Sometimes the most diligent and productive people achieve insignificant results. This is because their patience with boring work does not allow them to give up a thankless task that is not worth the effort.

Almost everyone who has done something of value has done work that was meaningful and enjoyable to them. Perhaps not all the time and not without effort. But years spent in a hated profession is a dubious recipe for success.

To start doing what you love, sometimes it is enough to stop doing what you hate.

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