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VOL. 45 | NO. 6 | Friday, February 5, 2021

You’re not lazy, you’re taking care of yourself

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Print | Front Page | Email this story

Assume this position. Feet up, head back, fingers laced over your belly. Eyes shut. Teeth unclenched.

And there you are: Ready for a nap – if you dare, if you have your work finished, if you can ignore the nagging feeling that there are things left undone, if you can stop feeling judged. Impossible? Not so, if you’ve read “Laziness Does Not Exist” by Devon Price, Ph.D.

A 9-to-5 job sure would be great, wouldn’t it? You’re snorting now, aren’t you? Because you get to the office early, sprint all day, say “yes” to everything lobbed at you, leave work by the moon, stagger home and fall into bed the second you get there.

Price also was that way with a childhood spent achieving more than most children because both parents insisted on it. That was happily do-able, although after a while Price noticed some classmates were labeled as “lazy,” and “[l]azy kids didn’t have futures.”

For centuries – in business, movies and pop culture – we’ve quietly been led to believe “The Laziness Lie,” which has three main facets:

• We are only worth what we can accomplish

• Our feelings and limits can’t be trusted

• We can’t ever do enough.

These beliefs, once absorbed, can cause health problems, burn-out, relationship problems and more through overwork and underconfidence. As a teacher, Price sees it all the time.

“Laziness Does Not Exist”

by Devon Price, Ph.D.

c.2021, Atria

$27

247 pages

In combating The Laziness Lie, Price says to realize that overwork doesn’t deserve a badge of honor. Reframe your idea of “lazy” through compassion. Point out, for instance, that surviving homelessness is hard work. Listen to your body: taking care of yourself is absolutely not “lazy,” and taking time off is essential to your health.

Remember “you can work only so much,” physically and mentally. Get off social media and turn the news off sometimes.

And “stop fearing [your] inner ‘laziness,’” Price says. Do it, and you can “build [a] healthy, happy, well-balanced” life.

Weekends are good.

Binge-watching your favorite TV show is good.

Naps are very good.

Realizing “Laziness Does Not Exist” also is good.

With a clarion call tailor-made for new work-at-homers who can no longer leave work at work, the author gives readers plenty of reason to kick back and put their feet up sometimes, showing that doing so can actually enhance productivity.

There’s an abundance of illustrative stories here with compassion featured strongly, for self and for women, marginalized workers, BIPOC and LGBTQ workers. Price shows how deep the word “lazy” goes and why it’s so wrong. Readers are then offered ideas, including exercises, that can help undo the damage of the word and its associated meanings – it’ll take work, no pun intended – and hidden reasons why waiting really isn’t an option.

Not just for the overachiever, this book should sit on the desk next to every home printer and cubicle keyboard. Find “Laziness Does No Exist,” stretch, take a comfortable seat and you’re in a good position to enjoy.

Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of business books are read in more than 260 publications in the U.S. and Canada.

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