Is “laziness” the key to creativity? The Lazy Report argues for the art of kicking back

In the first of our new Insight reports, we investigate whether the hunt for productivity might be hindering our creativity.


Illustrations by:
Dominic Kesterton
16 January 2023


The Lazy Report was developed by It’s Nice That’s Creative Insights team, a new department that carries out research and analyses visual trends in the creative world. This team will be publishing downloadable reports like this one throughout the year, so keep an eye out for these over the coming months.

If we asked you to name the ideal attributes of a creative person, laziness would rarely come up as a positive trait. But creative worth, and in turn personal worth, have too long been connected to productivity. Individuals are unfairly judged on the amount of work they produce (and how frequently), when in fact developing a creative idea requires stepping back for a moment. Sitting on it, opening up a new tab and browsing, taking a walk or kicking back while the idea simmers somewhere else – whatever it takes to come back with fresh eyes.

Rather than accumulate self-destructing guilt in 2023, we’re instead choosing a small dose of laziness in aid of creativity. To muster up our defence, the first of It’s Nice That’s new Insight reports, The Lazy Report, is dedicated to this very subject.

The argument for rest and recuperation has been discussed at length over the past year. World events altered our relationship with work to dramatic effect, resulting in workplace trends like The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting. Outside the office, the art of laziness has seeped into our personal lives; the ever popular “Goblin Mode” – defined as “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations” – was even selected as the 2022 Oxford Dictionary term of the year, voted for by an increasingly lazy general public.

This “Lazy Movement” creates the basis of our report, assessing why individuals are changing their approach to nine to fives. We’ve pulled together research from a variety of industry sources and surveyed our audience, outlining why a “lazier” approach to work is fast developing.

The Lazy Report also argues for the acceptance of a “lazy period” as part of any creative exercise. Joining our ranks in this defence is Madison Utendahl, founder of branding and design studio Utendahl Creative, with a personal essay on why she believes laziness is a lost art. Then, to further uncover how our perceptions of laziness are the result of societal structures (when rest is actually a necessary, justified part of everyday life), we meet the bare minimum collective. The six-member collective currently in residence at the Institute of Contemporary Art describes what it takes to be a collective that “believes in doing nothing or at the very least, as little as is required of us”.

We conclude with a final chapter offering actionable ways to adopt lazier mentalities in your everyday life. We speak to a group of artists who use boredom and banality as creative inspiration, and see beauty in nothing much at all. And, if we’ve convinced you, there are also three lazy tips to take forward, from learning how to say no to choosing the optimum time to action your newfound laziness.

Since developing this report, we now see the possibilities of laziness everywhere, ultimately proving that taking a step back, at work or in life, will help more than hinder your creative fulfilment. Download The Lazy Report in full below.

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) is the senior editor at Insights, a research-driven department with It's Nice That. Get in contact with her for potential Insights collaborations or to discuss Insights' fortnightly column, POV. Lucy has been a part of the team at It's Nice That since 2016, first joining as a staff writer after graduating from Chelsea College of Art with a degree in Graphic Design Communication.

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