What is the opposite of being lazy? Is it being productive? Not necessarily. We can work hard and be busy without getting much done.
The opposite of being lazy is being wasteful. From a biological point of view living beings are hardwired to be lazy; to get the most out of the energy we have. Laziness is purely the lack of motivation to do a certain thing. It’s often a sign that what we are doing doesn’t serve a purpose that outweighs the effort. Either the goal isn’t worth it or there might be a better way to go about it. Doing a certain task would be a waste of energy if there is a better way to achieve the same result.
When you hear that someone is hardworking, you don’t know anything yet. You can work hard without getting much done. When you hear that someone is lazy the same thing applies. It doesn’t say much about how productive a person is, just how much effort someone exerts. Nonetheless being called hard working is often regarded as a positive thing and being called lazy is not. Even though it might sound counter intuitive the two don’t even exclude each other. You can be pro-actively lazy; refusing to do anything that does not serve a clear desirable purpose or while doing those things that survive the prioritization process immediately and properly. Alternatively you can be hardworking and lazy in the opposite sense, being too lazy to think things through and work hard on pointless tasks.
The laziness I promote is not sloth nor mental laziness, far from it. Mental laziness is being to lazy to think things through. This often leads to being busy without getting much done. The form of laziness I endorse is positive laziness; strict prioritizing to see what really needs to be done. Our time and energy are limited, not all actions are equally effective in achieving our desired goals. To get more important things done we need to do less.
Hard work does not equal productivity. And being lazy does not exclude it. It doesn’t matter how hard or how much you work, what ultimately matters is how much you get done.
‘I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.’ – Bill Gates