Maj. Gen. C P Singh (Retd)
In the year 2020, Covid ripped across the world resulting in illness, death, burnout, isolation, and economic turmoil. Sudden lockdowns were announced and the whole world came to a standstill. Laziness became a habit, Newton’s law of Inertia, “a body continues to stay in a position of rest until an external force is applied” became very much applicable. Then came the second wave which added to the problems.
Life is limping back to normalcy after COVID 2.0 and amidst fears of COVID 3.0. the situation has added certain new dimensions, which are going to be the ‘new normal’ for years to come. Masks, social distancing, sanitizers, no personal touch, limited celebrations/ mourning including digital modes of meeting working will be the ‘new normal’ in this decade of 2021-30.
It is necessary to identify all aspects of Covid related addictive laziness since a conscious effort will have to be made to overcome them.
Uncertainty in life leads to fears and hence the lack of desire to work with full gusto and sincerity. When you find people around you falling like nine pins, it is very difficult to work for a bright future. The gloom leads to pending everything as life itself is so uncertain. As Covid continued languishing became the norm. Languishing dulls motivation, disrupts the ability to focus, and triples the odds of cut back on work. As Covid continued, procrastination became a habit since we all want to follow a path of least resistance. Delay of one day soon snowballed into a week or month of backlogged tasks. This habit will now have to be shed and that too fast.
Blurring Work-life Balance
Initially, when the lockdown happened, everyone was very euphoric about the ‘work from home’ concept. It gave the working class a sense of freedom from dressing up, freedom from pollution and traffic jams while travelling to office and freedom from strict office timings. Many looked at work from home as ‘no work’ or ‘work at will.’ Soon a realisation dawned of being neither here nor there. The work life balance got blurred out as management expectations became 24×7. At the same time, family life became tense due to close proximity. The blurred work life balance resulted in poor motivation, decreased efficiency, frustration and psycho-social disorders. Now there will be a need to break the abnormal routine of remaining the whole day in pyjamas, doing nothing constructive, watching irrelevant programs on TV and wasting time on mob phone etc.
Students without School
The students never had it so good. No schools for the last two sessions and then 99% of them passed scoring above 90% without exams. The online classes functioned at different levels of efficiency with no means available to rate them. School management maintained a diplomatic silence as the fee was coming in while expenditure was low. The teachers had to take only one or two online sessions which they did while carrying on with household work. In many instances students only logged in just to get attendance. It was learning that suffered the most.
The challenge ahead lies in overcoming this lethargy once the school opens. Students will find it difficult to get up early, get ready to leave by 06:30 AM, attend school the whole day, do the home work and study hard to pass exams with such high expectations. The laziness has crept into the system is certainly addictive; it will take considerable time and effort to get over it.
Social Distancing by Choice
The world was already becoming more and more self oriented. Many found in Covid a God sent excuse for their anti-social behaviour. People have selectively used social distancing as it suites them. More and more urbanites have started moving away from the basic societal norms of obligatory attendance at funerals, cremations, weddings and other social gatherings. Just a condolences call or even a condolence or congratulatory message is accepted as the new normal. Handshake and Jaadu ki Jhappi (warm hugs) were considered a close and vibrant way of greetings; in Covid times, these societal norms of greetings have changed forever to greetings from a distance with no body touch. The basic fabric which weaves the humans as social beings and holds them together has been ripped. Let’s hope and pray that this exceptional behaviour is not adopted as ‘new normal’ for the sake of convenience. However, the positive take-away is the acceptance of Indian “Namaste” as global way of greetings.
During the Covid lockdowns, most of the people were just getting bored, frustrated and addicted to laziness. It was tempting to stay in bed and yet not get proper sleep. Phone, social media and browsing the internet became major time consumers, pulling down everybody into hours of idleness. Continuously checking the news made people feel scared and anxious; many lived in a state of panic. The laziness induced slowdown and procrastination coupled with increased screen time had an adverse effect on family bonding and health. Wasting time in absence of a routine is stressful and laziness creeps in soon, discouraging us to not even do the essentials.
Everybody spoke about maintaining a good healthy regime during the lockdown. The need was well felt but the laziness that was set in soon became an addiction. We found excuses like gym is closed, swimming pool is not open, can’t move out of house and cycling trips are banned, very common with no letup in gorging the junk food.“The less I do, the less I want to do” – laziness tightened the grip over the idle mind, as any other addiction. Getting over this disturbed routine and overcoming this laziness has now become a major challenge.
Dressing up has taken the biggest hit in the Covid era. While everybody is confined to home in lockdown, the only dress being used is pyjamas or T-shirt and Bermudas etc. Pyjamas signal to your brain that it is time to wind down, while formal clothing reminds you that it is time to work. The formal dressing has taken a long leave. The formal shoes have all gone bad. Even the wedding haute-couture has been neatly packed and locked into boxes. With things opening up the next challenge will be fitting into the clothes the other more expensive alternative being a new wardrobe.
Blame it on Covid
A large number of Govt officials and those deputed to deal with public grievances started shirking their responsibilities in the name of Covid. Entry into all Govt offices is strictly restricted. There are so many false barriers created in the name of Covid that an aggrieved person gives up even before he can meet the concerned official. The routine business of governance has become a big casualty. In the hospitals also patients with all other ailments were relegated in priority to Covid patients and many of them have succumbed to such neglect, but who cares. Covid was found to be the new punching bag to be blamed for all delays, ills, faults and incompetence.
Post Covid laziness is as addictive as smoking, alcohol or drugs. When people have had a year plus sabbatical or so called ‘work from home’ it becomes a tough call to get back to work and will cause withdrawal symptoms. COVID has not only changed our life but also our living pattern and ripped the social fabric apart.
The forced lockdown and idleness has taken a toll on our efficiency and desire to work hard. It has brought in sluggishness in work, boredom, procrastination and the habit of languishing. These are trying times, but idleness only drags the time out and leaves behind depression and disinterested. It will take a great amount of concerted effort to shed the sluggishness and resume life with full gusto and energy, leaving Covid behind. Let’s not get addicted to laziness and let’s try to beat Covid in its entirety.
(The author is social activist, career consultant and a motivational speaker. Contact – www.majgencpsingh.com)