Q: What’s your take on laziness? Is it an epidemic or what? I once had a discussion with my friend about how we are less productive when we are less busy, if that makes sense. For example, when we have a full schedule with deadlines, requests to fulfill, appointments, assignments, etc., we find ways to make it all happen. Then, when we finally get “free time” to accomplish all the things we’ve been wanting to do for ourselves, like go to yoga, workout, clean, blog, etc., we don’t end up doing much of those things at all! There is no one but ourselves to hold us accountable for those things, which makes it all the more difficult to get it done with any urgency. – Isabel Gomez, @izzygomez
A: You’re definitely onto something with your observation, Isabel. You should see my low productivity in the summertime when I’m not teaching – I often fail to even make it to the grocery store!
Why would less time make us more productive? Because it stresses us out – in a good way.
We need good stress (eustress) to perform optimally, according to the Yerkes-Dodson law. Not enough stress and we’re like sacks of potatoes on the couch. Too much and we’re a bundle of ulcer symptoms.
But I think there’s more to the “laziness epidemic” than a lack of stress. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It all comes down to an improper understanding our “Optimal Time Crunch Zone.” (It’s not as scary as it sounds – promise!)
Get Your Time Crunch On
Before we dig into the laziness issue, let’s get clear on our Optimal Time Crunch Zone by extending the Yerkes-Dodson law to “Time Crunch Status,” as shown in this image I created.
It demonstrates that we need to be somewhat time crunched to be optimally productive.
Too much time on our hands is a recipe for getting nothing done – and too little time is exactly the same!
The big question is, how much time crunch is “too much” and how much is “not enough”?
How to Find Your Optimal Time Crunch Zone
What feels like a ton of free time to me (a whole HOUR today?!?) may feel like nothing to you – or vice versa. So we have to do some trial-and-error to find what amount of free time works best for each of us.
We can do that totally randomly. Or, if you’re a dork like me, you can be a bit more strategic about the process, say, like this:
- [click to continue…]