Balancing act: Is it ever OK to just be lazy?

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 19 2013 9:56 a.m. MST

I know that, when I'm facing a deadline, I should buckle down and be productive. But sometimes, I just want to let things slide. That makes me ask myself, "Is it ever OK to just be lazy?"

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I glanced at the calendar the other day, and it occurred to me that I have been writing a weekly business column for the Deseret News for 11 years this month.

During those 11 years, I have experienced the birth of two of my four children, changed to several different jobs at the News and eventually to a different career, and watched my hair and (especially) goatee get quite a bit more gray.

My column has appeared on different days of the week and touched on several themes — from random business musings to readers' personal finance questions to the current focus on work-life balance. Even as the topic has changed, my commitment to producing a column has not wavered, and I've missed just a handful of weeks during that time.

That's because, despite all of the personal and work changes that have come my way during the years, the one constant in my life has been that weekly deadline.

Sometimes, I don't mind. I know exactly what I want to write about, whether it's napping at work or honoring my father upon his retirement, and the words come easily.

Other times, the deadline stares me in the face, taunting me, knowing that I'm devoid of ideas.

And then there are times — yes, I'm going to admit this deep, dark secret — that I just feel lazy.

Such was the case this week.

I had a few column ideas kicking around in my brain, and I suppose any one of them could have made for some passable prose. But what I really wanted to do as my deadline approached was to take a nap. Or play a mindless game on my iPad. Or watch a movie I've already seen a dozen times.

I knew I should buckle down and be productive, but I just didn't want to. I wanted to let it slide. And as I pondered giving in to that feeling, I asked myself, "Is it ever OK to just be lazy?"

A good friend of mine discusses this topic with me frequently. We'll chat by phone after work and talk about the characteristics of the perfect job. Basically, it would involve the two of us getting paid enormous salaries to sit on a couch in front of a huge TV, watching random programs or playing video games, eating snacks and making pithy comments — or, at least, comments that we find pithy.

When we mention this plan to our wives, they usually sigh and/or roll their eyes, then walk away shaking their heads. But that doesn't kill our dream. Why, we ask ourselves, can we not make a comfortable living in exchange for providing such a valuable service to humanity?

Of course, we're just sharing a joking moment at the end of an all-too-common long day at the office. In reality, my friend is one of the hardest-working people I know. He is a dedicated employee who excels at his job and an outstanding husband and father who sets a great example to me of devotion to family.

I don't think I match that standard, but I do try to work hard and get the job done, both in the office and in the home.

Still, every now and then, I don't want to work hard. What I really want to do is not work at all.

What I'm wondering is whether I'm the only normally hardworking person who has such thoughts. And that, dear readers, is where I need your help.

Do you ever have moments when you want to chuck your deadline worries and play mental hooky? Do you respond to those feelings by giving in, or do you fight them until you're able to get back on the track to productivity?

And, on a more philosophical level, do you think it's ever OK to be lazy for a while?

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