Day after day I’d think to myself, “Aiyah, I didn’t do the work I’d planned to do again” and feel bad — while also not mustering enough energy, motivation, and focus to do anything about it. It was perfect timing, then, for me to start reading Laziness Does Not Exist.
I’ve only just started this book and am only about 10–15% through (or so my ereader tells me), so this should by no means be treated as a review. But the early chapters have resonated deeply. Price reminds us that our feelings of “laziness”, or tiredness, or the desire to do nothing but just sit on the sofa and space out, are signals from our bodies that we have totally normal limits, and that we need rest. They point out that many of us are haunted by the fear of being “lazy”, even if we are anything but. We just think that way because we’ve been socialised to constantly feel like we’re not measuring up.
It was exactly what I needed to hear. I have a chronic problem of feeling like I’m not doing enough, and not acknowledging what I’ve already done
. It’s even present in this piece: I just wrote, a few paragraphs up, about how my brain switched off for a week and I couldn’t do anything, but I’ve checked my calendar and to-do apps (of course I have productivity apps) and in this week I actually listened and live-tweeted, on and off, to a 10-hour
parliamentary debate, wrote a response to the Minister for Home Affairs’ attack on my character and
produced an 800-word op-ed on the same day, responded to emails, proofread a statement prepared for World Day Against the Death Penalty, wrote my regular weekly wrap of news from Singapore
, did multiple interviews with other journalists, spoke on two panels and an Instagram Live session, and attended at least five virtual meetings. It’s probably quite telling of the amount of work and activism that I expect from myself on a regular basis, if this is parsed in my head as “wow, I really blanked and didn’t do anything but cross-stitch, huh”.
It’s little wonder that I so often feel like I might be teetering on the brink of burn-out, or that a few days’ worth of staycation isn’t enough to make me feel properly recharged.