For many people, laziness is not a virtue; it is something that has to be overcome with daily habits and willpower. But what about the driven Type A personality who has been told by his/her doctor that the current lifestyle will almost certainly lead to a premature death? How can those people cultivate a more balanced existence, by letting a little laziness into their lives?
Psychologist Sandi Mann, author of The Upside of Downtime, and Jaye Derrick, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Houston, offer some tips to the more driven among us in a recent blog post. Their first insight is that many anxious perfectionists and overachievers don’t do well with downtime because they can’t manage to think of it as time well-spent. The solution? Put downtime on your schedule, and recognize that relaxing can improve productivity and performance. Basically, that means reframing your lazy time as work.
After that, consider the distinction between “important” and “urgent.” Some activities are very important, but do you actually have to do them as soon as you finish the previous project? Derrick recommends that you re-sort your “to-do” list (all Type As have one) into tasks that are unimportant (delete them from the “to-do” list, or at least delegate them), Non-Urgent Important (don’t feel like you need to plunge into them right away) and Important Urgent (these actually do require your immediate attention).
Finally, you can spend your downtime on hobbies or activities that recharge you physically and emotionally. Is binge-watching a TV show really energizing you? Are you recharged by scrolling through your Instagram account? “Work hard, play hard” is a perfect motto for the Type As among us. But it’s also okay to do nothing without triggering your personal guilt-o-meter. Remember, the longer you live, the more you can accomplish.
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