In praise of slacking

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As a card-carrying member of Generation X, I have long resigned myself to being labeled a no-good slacker. I don’t really care; caring takes energy, and I’m too busy lying prone on my La-Z-Boy and watching another Simpsons rerun. Could someone pass the Duff Beer?

Seriously, now that I think about it, I haven’t heard my generation accused of slothhood in a good long while now. What happened, I wonder? Was it that we grew up, had kids, and realized we needed jobs to feed the little buggers? Was it that the Boomers who gave us the lame stereotype in the first place tired of it or, better yet, suddenly found themselves working for the likes of us? Was it that Boomers and Gen X are now united in thinking up mean labels for those twerpy Millennials?

I don’t know. This productivity consultant named David Allen has an unironic piece on The Huffington Post boasting that he extolls the virtues of “sloth, indolence and procrastination.” Read a bit:

…when I’m in a loving, whole and healthy state of mind about myself and about life, everything’s cool. Where I am, doing what I’m doing, is exactly where I need to be and what I need to do. Tomorrow is just fine right where it is, not showing up until then.

And I don’t seem to get to that wonderful state of mind by working harder and faster. Sometimes it helps, but more often it just perpetuates the angst.

I get there by letting go, softening my grip, getting quiet. That’s when I can get a peek between the seconds, and in the particularly delicious moments experience the grandeur of just being. That doesn’t happen by working harder or smarter. It doesn’t happen by working at all. It just happens.

Gah. Whatever, dude. You could also read this book: The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Slackers (Because 7 is too Many), by K.P. Springfield. He claims that “during his three-year tenure at at Blue Chip Silicon Valley company, he not only received two promotions, positive reviews, a raise and vacations aplenty, but also managed to get appointed to a corporate Hall of Fame for his pseudo efforts – all for doing less than 15 hours of work per week.” So what are the five habits? A summary by the author, just for WiP:

The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Slackers

1. Perception is Everything. In the corporate world, it isn’t what you actually do but what others think you do that makes the difference.

2. Whatever! A state of mind that must be adopted to avoid the emotional swings that naturally occur when a product launch inevitably fails, your bonus is slashed or any other blow to the psyche which affects mental health.

3. The Team Player. A habit successful slackers adopt to offset their lack of productivity. It’s widely proven that managers put up with people who are less productive so long as they’re friendly, easy to manage and well-liked.

4. Procrastination. A habit used in order to test the true importance of assigned tasks. This is where the ACTION REQUIRED – Not Really flowchart comes into play.

5. Under the Radar – In the spirit of the SR-71 Blackbird, keeping a low profile gives you low management visibility and enables you to leave work early each day without being detected.

Just to quibble, I’m not sure these are all habits, exactly; they ought to be rendered as verb-driven action commands (be a team player, procrastinate, et cetera). But perhaps Springfield is showing off his slacker creds by not bothering with parallel lists. Regardless, you should go to the source, if it’s not too much trouble; his web site’s here, and you can take this quiz to find out if you’re a “successful slacker” here. But really, don’t exert yourself. That would defeat the purpose.