The Zen of Lazy

I am a lazy individual.

This comes as some surprise to my son and co-workers. They see me attempt to be hyper-organized, and wonder how the #%# I could possibly consider myself lazy.

My current laziness started when I was in Basic Training. Every recruit needed to have a chore, some kind of responsibility. I broke the basic rule of being in the military. I volunteered.

I volunteered to write the next day’s schedule on the barracks whiteboard. Every evening, while my squadmates would be doing some other kind of chore – say, doing the latrine – I would be smelling the petroleum scent of dry-erase markers.

It was easy to find the Beetle Bailey types – they were either hiding and sleeping, or they were being screamed at by drill sergeants. I, on the other hand, was barely working… but I *was* working, so I was never in trouble.

That is the first Zen of True Laziness.

The second Zen of True Laziness was taught to me at oh-dark-thirty in the morning. My breath rasped into clouds as I ran, trying to keep up with my platoon sergeant. He was running us at a brutal pace in frosty air that burned our lungs.

“Why do you like running so much?” I managed to wheeze at him.

“I don’t.”

I almost stopped, stumbling over my feet, then falling back into the run.

“I hate running,” he continued. “But I know I have to do it, so I’d rather get it done faster and get it out of the way… so I can do something else.”

That is the second Zen of True Laziness.

When, nearly a decade later, I heard David Allen say of “Think now so you don’t have to think later,” it made perfect intuitive sense. An amateur goof-off will trade a bit of leisure (with the anxiety of being discovered) now for having to do the same work – and probably getting some negative repercussions – later.

The smart goof-off figures out exactly what has to be done, gets it done in the most efficient way possible, and so does the minimum of work. That way, they can get back to the rest of their lives.

So, how are you going to be lazy today?

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