Fear of being lazy (FOBL)

Taking time for yourself is not lazy

What is holding you back from taking time for yourself? This time of year, preparation for the holidays can be the reason you don’t do things you enjoy. In all honesty, isn’t it like this all year long? A list of tasks and goals to be achieved for someone other than yourself. I’m not saying that you don’t benefit as well. There is usually a sense of satisfaction when you do something for someonse else and there is often a mutual benefit.

You + someone else benefits

Your boss, clients, spouse, kids, friends, neighbors. You complete a project for your boss - you make money. You complete a task for a client - you feel accomplished. You schedule a date night with your spouse - you get entertained. You make dinner for your kids - you get a good meal. You send an “I’m thinking of you” text to a friend - you make a connection. You drop off cookies for the neighbor - you maintain a friendship.

There is something in it for you too. And don’t you feel better when you have accomplished what you set out to do? And that you made someone’s life a little better?

You benefit

You read a book. You take a nap. You practice a hobby. You take a class. You see a movie. You go for a walk (without your dog). You enjoy a cup of coffee (without reading or eating).

Do you feel the same satisfaction when you do something where you are the sole beneficiary?

Usually not.

Practice self-care

I don’t think we enjoy time spent on ourselves because we don’t practice it often enough. When we do something for ourselves, it is coated with guilt of neglecting our responsibilities. Or it seems like too much work. If you have time for yourself, it is easier to look at your phone or watch television.

No time

For some, there may not be an extra minute to squeeze into the day because we have overextended our responsibilities. It is time to face the facts on this one. You are not the only person that can do the responsibilities you have set out for yourself. At home, if you have kids over the age of 2, they are fully capable of helping with age-appropriate chores. If you have a spouse, ask him or her to buy the birthday present for the party.

Unnecessary tasks

Do you really need to spend the weekend “cleaning the house”? What if you just skipped it for a weekend? Things wouldn’t be that bad.

Write down a list of what you think needs to be done on Saturday. Next to it, write down if it is optional. Unless you have a bill due that day, almost everything is going to be optional. Wait until the next weekend and return to your list. Write down whether it needs to be done at all. Start creating a list titled “If I feel like it”.

Stop the self-criticism

If you did take the weekend to do something you enjoyed, don’t call yourself lazy. Be proud that you made yourself priority number one. And don’t “should” on yourself. I went for a bike ride, but I should have [ ]. You don’t need to say you are lazy or you should have done something else. This is your inner critic talking to you. And a critic is always mean. Tell it who is boss of your time.

Your time. Your choice.

You are in charge of how you spend your time. What you do with that time is up to you. Spending time doing things that benefit you will take practice. You will feel guilty, you will fear being lazy, but after enough practice, it will be part of your lifestyle.


Fear of being lazy (FOBL) is in the mind of the beholder. If you were lazy, you wouldn’t have read this blog. People that fear being lazy are the least lazy of all.