The Art of Non-Conformity » “I’ve Just Been So Busy Lately”

Chris Guillebeau gets it right again:

In a group project, a person who freaks out about being busy will stall, defer, and generally keep everyone else waiting on them. They use busyness as an excuse for poor performance. Sometimes it’s faster to put this person in a room by themselves and let them whine while you do their job for them.

A person in control of being busy will keep the project moving forward at all costs. They like deadlines, direct communication, and tough assignments. That’s the kind of person you want on your team. If you’re serving on someone else’s team, that’s the kind of person you should be.

via The Art of Non-Conformity » “I’ve Just Been So Busy Lately”.

In a meditation class once I learned about how the word in Buddhist texts often translated as “laziness” doesn’t have the same connotations in the original as it does to our ears.  According to the teacher, there are really three kinds of laziness: laziness of laziness, which is the kind we think of when we think of laziness; laziness of discouragement, which is the kind where we “don’t bother because it will never work anyway”; and laziness of busyness, which is the kind where we just can’t get to the real work because this email and this conversation and this phone call and this blog post just won’t wait.

In my experience, it can be helpful to take an attitude of casual interest in my laziness.  Sometimes I can approach it close enough to see which species it is, and then I have more information to work with.  “Oh, I see I am not doing this task.  What’s it like to not want to do this task?”

“I just don’t feel like it.” (laziness, an aversion often related to the fear of not getting what I want)

“Oh, there’s no point in doing this anyway.” (discouragement, often related to the fear of failure)

“Oh, I just haven’t gotten to this yet.” (busyness, often related to the fear of losing control)

It’s more often that I just head straight over to dailypuppy.com or start griping with a co-worker or get deeply involved in redesigning my Outlook taxonomy without even registering my avoidance as avoidance, but when I can pause, recognize my laziness, and sidle up to it, sometimes I gain useful information.

One Comment

Chris Guillebeau January 15, 2010

Thanks for the props.

And I love your bio — I embellish too (don’t tell anyone!). 🙂

All best,

cg

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