2

A lot of words for laziness (thesaurus: apathy, lethargy, negligence, indolence, sloth) carry some serious negative connotations. However, some forms of laziness are not necessarily that bad: for example if you have the money for it, eating out for dinner when you don't feel like cooking is not some mortal sin; it's relatively neutral. In fact in my chosen profession of programming, some forms of laziness are downright meritorious; "I quickly pasted a couple of things together that will let a computer solve this problem over the next week, rather than spending two days slaving over getting it Done Right" shows an excellent frugality-of-time.

What is a good emotive conjugation for the adjective "lazy" so that I can better deal with the "I" and "you" cases (positive, neutral) when we all know how to deal with the "he/she" case (negative)?

More examples:

"I'm going to buy a new shirt from the clothing store across the way because I spilled some tea on this one; it's [neutrally-lazy] and ideally I'd go home and change, but I have an important meeting in a few hours and I don't want to spend time stressing about being in too many different places at once."

"Yeah, those search phrases you put in the system overnight generated lots of garbage."
"Can you run it again by hand with these phrases?"
"Well, I'm trying to be [positively-lazy], so why don't I just set that client to run on Wednesdays rather than Tuesdays, and it will just run like usual tonight? It's not urgent, right?"

Ideally I would like an answer to take the form of an emotive conjugation, so that it's clear that the denotation is remaining the same (some answers like smart seem to be straying a bit from laziness per se), such as the examples "I am well-traveled; you are a sightseer; he is a tourist" or "I'm intelligent; you're intellectual; she is a smarty-pants." So I'm looking for something like "I am [positively-lazy]; you are [neutrally-lazy]; she is downright lazy."

  • 2
    @cobaltduck The answers smart and (especially) efficient from the related post, however, do address this post's request. – Lawrence Aug 17 '16 at 16:00
  • @Lawrence: (1) neither smart nor efficient carry any connotation of laziness -- just the opposite, in fact -- so the related post does not answer this one. (2) Answers don't make duplicates, questions do. – Marthaª Aug 17 '16 at 22:24
  • @Marthaª It's not just the answers, the title fits as well. As for the words, I think the popular phrase work smarter, not harder fits the overall idea. The OP's laziness is something like 'less work for the same outcome', which is a pragmatic definition for the comparative form of efficient. – Lawrence Aug 17 '16 at 23:27
  • I guess the problem that I'm having right now is that my question was for a good emotive conjugation and none of these answers really works that way. @Marthaª is correct that I don't really feel like my question has been properly answered yet; "work smarter, not harder" is an OK slogan but it doesn't fit nicely into that formula of "I work smarter, not harder; you X; he is downright lazy." – CR Drost Aug 17 '16 at 23:32
  • 1
    In the first example, I'd use the phrase "path of least resistance" in place of "[neutrally-lazy]." In the second example I'd use the the phrase "conserve effort" in place of the phrase "be [positively-lazy]." – Sven Yargs Aug 18 '16 at 2:34
3

How about "satisficing"? It comes from "satisfice":

Satisfice verb Decide on and pursue a course of action that will satisfy the minimum requirements necessary to achieve a particular goal.

From Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance:

According to [the scholar Herbert] Simon, people can be maximizers and satisficers in different contexts. For example, when it comes to, let's say, tacos, I'm a maximizer. I'll do a rigorous amount of research to make sure I'm getting the best taco I can find, because for me there is a huge difference in the taco experience. A satisficer will just get tacos wherever they see a decent taco stand and call it a day. I hate getting tacos with these people. Enjoy your nasty tacos, losers.

2

Since you tagged this both single word and phrase request, I assume you are okay with either suggestion. Therefore, it seems you are trying to take the path of least resistance. (Wikipedia)(Idioms - Free Dictionary)

The idiom implies there is a goal or task that must be accomplished, and multiple choices for how to do it, one of which is simpler, shorter, easier, or similar. Other paths may accomplish more than is needed or leave less problems for the future, but at the expense of greater effort now.

In your examples:

I'm going to buy a new shirt from the clothing store across the way because I spilled some tea on this one; it's taking the path of least resistance and ideally I'd go home and change, but I have an important meeting in a few hours and I don't want to spend time stressing about being in too many different places at once.

And:

Well, I'm trying to take the path of least resistance, so why don't I just set that client to run on Wednesdays rather than Tuesdays, and it will just run like usual tonight? It's not urgent, right?

1

For the first sentence, you could use "sub-optimal" or "good enough".

For the second sentence, you could use "pragmatic" or "efficient".

1

For a relatively neutral version, use "a bit" or similar to just downplay the negativity:

…it's a bit lazy and ideally I'd go home and change…

For the positive version, AshleyZ's suggestion of "pragmatic" or "efficient" is decent, although neither specifically carry the idea of being lazy as such, so I'd add the possibility of combining "lazy" itself with a positive adverb such as "productively" or even "proactively":

"Well, I'm trying to be productively lazy…"

This sort of contrast is more rhetorically memorable and preserves many of the connotations of actively avoiding work that laziness has, but with the added idea of not lessening effectiveness because of that.

1

positively-lazy: optimal

neutrally-lazy: effective

"I am optimal; you are effective; she is downright lazy."

"I'm going to buy a new shirt from the clothing store across the way because I spilled some tea on this one; it's effective and ideally I'd go home and change, but I have an important meeting in a few hours and I don't want to spend time stressing about being in too many different places at once."

"Yeah, those search phrases you put in the system overnight generated lots of garbage." "Can you run it again by hand with these phrases?" "Well, I'm trying to be optimal, so why don't I just set that client to run on Wednesdays rather than Tuesdays, and it will just run like usual tonight? It's not urgent, right?"

From learnersdictionary.com:

optimal adjective

formal : best or most effective : optimum

He keeps his engine tuned for optimal performance.

Under optimal conditions, these plants grow quite tall.

optimal health

effective adjective

1 [more effective; most effective] : producing a result that is wanted : having an intended effect

drugs effective in the treatment of a disease = drugs effective in treating a disease = drugs effective against a disease

It's a simple but effective technique.

He gave an effective speech.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.