“The lazy one is well prepared” – a proverb I’ve enjoyed contemplating. It means that taking small actions in the present allows for greater laziness in the future. Truly lazy people optimise their life for overall idleness, inactivity or in my case, flexibility. Laziness all the time does not foster opportunities for future laziness: money/food/shelter/goods will always have to be obtained and laziness in the present tense always leads to not being able to be lazy in the future. Not going to the large food shop on the bicycle once a week leads to daily visits to the small food shop at the end of the road.
I’ve recently been around people who optimise their lives to be more full and effective, making me realise the ways that my life has been optimised by well prepared laziness. Additionally, laziness has lead to what I consider to be the optimal strategy for important things, particularly activism.
In the realm of hair, my laziness has reigned supreme and brought about startling results. I am of the belief that my body hair is mine to do with as I see fit. I have often been praised or admired for 1)refusing to remove any body hair and 2)wearing clothes that have no regard to covering said body hair. While I could claim this to be a strong political conviction that I hold (and I could, I was featured in the Guardian for my campaign entitled Hairy Awarey) the truth is I can’t be bothered to shave and can’t be bothered to think about my clothes. It seemed much easier to perform the mental acts required to go against social norms, especially since in this case it was an emotional equivalent of being lazy: not caring what other people think. In short I can’t be bothered to shave and I can’t be bothered to give other people’s opinions any space in my mind, but in so doing appear to be a brave and energetic activist.
My head hairstyle is also informed by laziness. I used to maintain a grade 4 all over, as the easiest and cheapest home haircut I’ve ever known. This has lead others to admire my bravery and gender non-conforming look. Lately I am growing a mohawk to look cool at a festival (leading to future laziness of getting people to sleep with me at said festival) and it is only laziness that got me through the annoying length stage, assuming it to be only right that my hair should be completely ignored.
Recently I bleached my hair in order to dye it pink for my birthday (lazy attracting sexual partners again) and then had cause to re-dye from pink to purple. Because I’m lazy, the bleach was not as all-over perfect as it could have been. Neither was the all-over pink, nor the all-over purple. Lazily, I made no effort to maintain the colour, simply allowing it to wash out unevenly. I’m now getting numerous comments on how fabulous my hair colour is, being pink, purple and blue all at once. Everyone thinks it’s deliberate when in fact laziness has lead to the same effect as if I’d spent many painstaking hours carefully dyeing all three colours into my hair.
Back when I still went to hairdressers, I was complimented on the good condition of my hair. “Do you condition it?” I was asked. In fact no. I don’t brush my hair, straighten it, cover it in products and then wash and condition it. It turns out hair comes out of one’s head in fairly good condition. Laziness reigns. The same goes for make-up: too lazy to bother, interpreted as politically effective. Awesome.
Akin to laziness is fun. If something is fun then it doesn’t count as “work” and can be engaged in with gusto. Hence, I organise a club night for bi people because it doesn’t require that much work and is something everyone finds fun. This has become something that makes up enough of my income to allow me to have few other working hours. My other job of course is sitting perfectly still for money. Though this is not as easy as it sounds, it can be made to seem lazy enough for the purposes of this article.
In the realm of activism, the skills I use to be lazy are applicable to figuring out what is effective. Pride parades are a very happy event, but biphobia is so high, and additional reasons, make it ineffective for recruiting bi folks or gaining acceptance for them. So, march in the parade = happy! = bi people might get some press! (they won’t) any further activism at Pride: don’t bother. Prioritising happiness and laziness helps activists continue to be activists and not burn out.
I believe optimising laziness is an essential skill, even for those people who want to be effective. A human that has acres of time for home cooking, leisure, pleasure and rest is a much more optimal being when trying to be effective than a human that does not. In particular, the spectre of being sick as a self employed person is truly minimised by the effectively lazy person. My monthly schedule has about 15 hours per week of work in it, which can be performed flexibly across the calendar. Besides the fact that my illnesses are less frequent and shorter because I am well fed, watered and rested all of the time, it requires no real effort to perform two weeks of work in just one week, and sickness results in no loss of income overall.
Strategising for laziness can: achieve the same goals as via the hard route, help maintain a healthy, happy body & mind and maintain income levels, thus improving effectiveness overall. I urge everyone to give well prepared laziness a try.