Procrastination or laziness: Does doing nothing make you productive?

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Everything would be better if we were only lazy and did not perform actionistically placebo work, wrote once bestselling author Holm Friebe. I have my doubts - even if many of Friebes thoughts are good, but you have to differentiate.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Mindfulness and laziness as a trend?

Laziness and productivity - how do they go together? Apparently very good, because we have come across the subject of laziness quite often Best of HR –® discussed. There are even people who openly admit: "Yes, I'm lazy - and that's why I'm productive".

Doing less, ostensibly accomplishing more or just being lazy: caring for one's self and turning away from the hamster wheel are trends in the future. Mindfulness is in.

Born to laziness?

In this context I found what the journalist and author Holm Friebe said about it exciting. We remember: Friebe is the founder of the Central Intelligence Agency who, together with Sascha Lobo, published the book “We call it work” in 2006 and thereby coined the term “Digital Bohème”.

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He is practically predestined to write about laziness. And that's what he did, including in another book “The Stone Strategy. The art of not acting ”.

Against the actionism:

Friebe's central statement: Instead of falling into blind actionism, as happens in many situations, one should take a deep breath, procrastinate, wait and think in peace. Friebe cites all sorts of examples for so-called “placebo activities”. For example our bloated health system, in which any therapies are prescribed seemingly indiscriminately, or the bureaucratic apparatus that, true to Parkinson's law, employs itself according to the motto: “Every job expands until it does the one intended for it Zeit completely filled out. "

According to Friebe, there are a thousand reasons and motives for creating work where there would actually be none: "Budget items have to be defended, superiors or shareholders want to be appeased, lack of planning should be criticized." As the German officer Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord said: The clever and lazy soldiers are predestined for the highest management tasks, since only they have the prudence and nerve-strength to master difficult decisions. Friebe has also understood that companies have long been sham productive - and that is exactly why he wrote his book.

Cultural ADHD - employment at all costs

I have to admit: there is something in his thesis. For example, I really like his expression “cultural ADHD”. Once again, the Protestant work ethic is to blame for the over-productivity dilemma that has struck our society.

The hectic pace with which news is produced in the media and with which on Twitter, Facebook and Co. is fighting for attention. Many agree: More important than jumping on any fast-moving trend - on the Internet and elsewhere - is to “pursue your own daily work calmly and purposefully”. Nice.

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Always just prokrastinieren is not a solution

Or not quite. Of course, blind actionism is bad. But always putting one's hands in the lap and waiting for what happens, as Friebe does in his article - a little bold and of course not 100% serious - demands, can not be the solution. Nor that he praises Angela Merkel for this political strategy. Friebe himself would soon be unemployed, if everyone did what he advises them. After all, he also lives on the fact that people can be distracted from their day's work by texts such as his.

The comments on Friebe's contribution in SZ-Magazin provide the perfect illustration of his idea: It is noted that it can also be cheaper to let the roast stew a little longer when cooking. That is exactly what brings me to the essential point: And how do you go about cleaning the kitchen afterwards? Should you wait until the brownies come and do everything for you?

Postponing or performing radical tasks

In many cases, procrastinating does not continue, as I have often noticed in my own example. Radical execution of tasks can sometimes be more liberating. And even if action and hurry are bad in important decisions, it often comes down to acting fast: If you hesitate too long, the competition is faster - for example, when it comes to the implementation of business ideas.

My conclusion: I like Friebe's thesis and have often dealt with similar topics myself. In many cases, pausing and thinking is more appropriate than rushing away. But I get as many cases in the Sensewho hesitated too long and where the hesitation had a negative impact. So I find Friebe's generalization inappropriate. As is so often the case, the golden middle ground is important.

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