The Benefits of Being Lazy with Devon Price, Ph.D.

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There is the kind of laziness that we commonly use to describe a languid Sunday afternoon. This is not the kind of laziness that our guest is talking about here. Devon Price offers science-based reassurances that productivity does not determine a person’s worth. Price describes being lazy as a self-protection that serves us in many beneficial ways. When someone fails to do something, Price says, “I might disagree with somebody else's priorities but if they don't care about doing something that doesn't matter to them, that's pretty rational. So, we can't really call that laziness.” They give examples of the “laziness lie” that includes many of the barriers we have to deal with in meeting our goals and laziness is not one of them. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Devon Price, Ph.D. is a social psychologist, writer, activist, and professor at Loyola University of Chicago’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Their work has appeared in numerous publications such as the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Slate, and has been featured on the front page of Medium numerous times. 

Devon Price is the author of:

  •  Laziness Does Not Exist (Atria Books 2020)

 To learn more about the work of Devon Price go to

 Topics explored in this dialogue include:

  • Why laziness does not need to be labeled as lacking motivation or focus
  • What are the impediments for not meeting our goals: depression, anxiety, trauma, structural problems, racism, transphobia, sexism
  • The stark example of how the homeless (unhoused) are labeled as lazy rather than looking at the underlying cause
  • What is the “laziness lie” and the system of cultural beliefs that your productivity is equated with your worth
  • How some congresspeople have predicted that if a government assisted stimulus check is distributed to the public it will cause people to be lazy
  • What is the science behind procrastination
  • What does productivity research show about being able to sustain focus for an eight-hour work day
  • How are some employers monitoring employees computers as they work virtually from home
  • What is the gig economy and corporations moving the workforce from W2s to 1099s which require no benefits
  • How, with good intentions, we can overstep healthy boundaries in relationships in trying to fix other people’s problems
  • What is a suggestion of how to change a dependent relationship with baby steps
  • What is expressive writing [therapeutic writing] and how it can enhance our health
  • Why paying attention to our body will not lead to laziness
  • What is the actual meaning of the Edmund Burke quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
  • How can we avoid activism fatigue by building sustainable practices informed by our values
  • Why it is important to allow yourself to grieve about big social and environmental issues
  • How curiosity, awe, and wonder help to put things in perspective and prevent burnout

 Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 1/7/2021   Program Number: 3721

Music Playlist

From Album:  Fingerdance
Artist: Billy McLaughlin

Opening Essay: Track 01 - Fingerdance
Music Break 1: Track 03 - Helm’s Place
Music Break 2: Track 06 - While She Sleeps
Music Break 3: Track 12 - Lila’s Healing