Indiscriminate action, left unchecked over a long period of time, is the ultimate form of laziness (thank you, Tim Ferriss, for this pearl of wisdom).
As much as we complain about being perpetually busy, we sure as hell don’t seem to be doing anything about it.
There’s a simple reason for it…
Being busy is easy.
But today’s in-flight meal is a Heaping Dish of Truth served cold: Being perpetually busy is lazy.
And yet, we’re all running around at warp speed.
We live in the era of Lazy Busy. And this is the Lazy Busy’s Golden Age.
Lazy Busy: It’s So Easy
It’s easy to stay busy because it makes you feel useful.
It’s easy to tell others how busy you are because hell, you’re so busy you must be useful…right?
It’s easy to jam up your calendar with every meeting request because it “qualifies” as work (but that game is dying…)
It’s easy to keep moving because it’s scary to feel left behind.
It’s easy to bury yourself in tasks because they distract you from what really needs to get done (you know, the hard stuff).
It’s easy to say stay busy by saying yes because it’s hard to say no.
It’s easy to reject this dose of Truth because “Dominick or fill in the blank doesn’t understand my circumstances and how crazy things are.” (I get this one a lot).
Listen, I’m not here to say that your life isn’t complicated, overwhelming or downright out of control.
I’m here to tell you that if you want to argue for your current situation, you get to keep it.
Don’t Just Do Something…Stand There
You know what’s harder than being busy? Not being busy. (#deepthoughts)
It takes guts to push the pause button on checking boxes and achieving. It means you must deal with the reward system withdrawal, which no one likes.
Hell, it takes guts to even tell people you’re not busy.
Being busy feels important.
Being busy feels useful.
But these are short-term fixes as the expense of your long-term performance.
Our biggest mistake is our belief that constant action equals productivity, usefulness and/or importance.
Of course, action is critical.
But incessant action is lazy.
Cultivating Intentional Inaction
Viktor Frankl once said “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
In other words, one of the most powerful things you can do is cultivate space. You can cultivate space by intentionally creating intentional inaction:
Dedicated chunks of time (15-20 minutes) intentionally designed to pause, not do/achieve/box check.
Instead, do an honest inventory of the most important things in your world and whether you’re actually doing anything about them.
It’ll feel weird at first. When you step off a treadmill, your body still thinks it’s on the moving belt. It wants to keep running.
The same thing will happen when you show up to 15 or 20 minutes of non-busy time. You may get anxious, itchy, want to check your phone…
…these are all natural responses. You’ve conditioned yourself to keep moving.
Creating space is foreign. But like anything else you train, over time it’ll become a muscle you can flex whenever you want it.
Think of Intentional Inaction it as reloading a slingshot: You have to pull back in order to launch forward.