I’ve been lazy lately. I have several articles in the works, but nothing finished. I just don’t feel like finishing them. Sometimes I decide it is because they are not really interesting and then start another one. I’ve done this before. Countless are the projects I’ve started but never finished. Even the ones I’ve brought to a working state, I’ve abandoned before finishing what I wanted to do. You can easily see that in my github account. This time I’m even slacking on my home chores. This is not good.
Why would I say laziness is driving the world then? Isn’t that the way a person becomes a useless load on society? Just consuming, draining the resources of the society, just because they are alive?
Well, I think this is a bit too melodramatic. Yes, wasting time is, in a perfect world, a loss of productivity. And we all know productivity is the most important part of our lives, right? And if you’re not motivated, productivity suffers the most. So keep being motivated and productive like a regular honey bee.
What’s wrong with being a honey bee?
There is a slight problem there. Bees aren’t really known to be the smartest creature on Earth. I wonder why. Also, do you know how much a regular bee lives? Do you know how important it is, for a bee to be born at the end of the summer, for its expected lifespan?
A bee which is born in the middle of the summer, when the entire hive prepares for the winter, lives about 30 days. Knowing how big they are, it seems reasonable, right? Well, if you look at the life expectancy of a bee, born at the end of the summer, it is kind of scary. The autumn-born bees actually live through the winter.
That’s right, the workaholic bees live 3 to 5 times less than the “lazy” ones. The bees are actually working themselves to death.
Why “lazy” might be good?
I’ve heard this before. The statement refers to the idea that people that retire early, die early. I’m inclined to believe it. I haven’t seen studies about it though. In any case working is, in a weird way, fun, cool, important. And who doesn’t want to be important, fun and cool?
Also, define lazy. Is it only not doing anything? Is it not enjoying something while doing it? Or is it doing something as easy and fast as possible? Ok, not doing anything is kind of dangerous, because one needs to breathe at least, right? But the other cases don’t really look that negative to me. Sure, it’s not fun to do chores, but if you do them anyway, it sounds like you’re not really lazy. Just not motivated. That leads me to this other way of being lazy.
Think of the people that invented the vacuum cleaner. Or the washing machine. Or the dish-washer, mixer, lawn mower, car. I bet they were too lazy to do something or deal with someone so they invented their way out of the problem. I choose to believe, they decided to work hard, so they can be lazy later.
In my view, this behaviour differentiates us from the bees. I don’t want to spend so much time to wash my clothes, I’ll make a tool, to help me do it faster. Meanwhile, I’ll make it so, that I don’t need to touch the water. And let’s be a little greedy, I want to do other stuff at the same time. Or: I can only catch the train to work in the middle of the night. I’ll make myself a smaller train, that I can operate and decide myself when to go – the car is invented. Meanwhile, the bees are still killing themselves while at work.
But what about my unfinished projects?
I’ll be honest. My unfinished projects aren’t really helping me save time. They fell victim of the other type of laziness. The uninventive laziness. I like to think that this type of laziness also helps me somehow.
I’ve found out that I start new projects periodically. Then I abandon them. Then I start new ones – more fun ones. The old ones are too boring already. In between abandoning the previous set of projects and inventing the new set, I don’t do a lot. I watch YouTube, or read a blog, or just play some video games.
I think there is a cycle there. I’m very active at some time, then completely useless at other times. Then active again. I think this uninventive laziness actually serves as a sort of recuperation, muse searching. Or maybe as a separator.
To continue the bee metaphor, the bees have a single routine. A complex one, granted, but the same. Nothing different. On the other hand, my projects are different. Yes, most of them are connected to programming, but they have different goals.
Maybe it is also important to have these episodes of unproductive laziness, that allow you to think of a new weird thing you want to do. Be lazy! Just don’t overdo it, okay?
Did you like the article? If you want, you can read what I think about testing code: Always Test Your Code. Or maybe you like something more tech specific? Here’s the last article from my Learning React series: Modern CSS Techniques | Entering the 21-st Century by Learning React