Believe it or not, I managed to think of more I can write about busywork.
When you were at school, did you have to copy information off a board or projector and into a book? Probably, some teachers see it as the number 1 way to teach. It is generally a boring activity which involves writing out someone Else's work, a bit of time, and can often take longer as you have to wait for others to catch up or for the teacher to finish writing on the board.
Why is this done? It is so easy to photocopy or just print out multiple sheets of information, printed neatly rather than written or scribbled down on a lined piece of paper in an exercise book. This would make it simple for students to read and understand.
Students do not absorb information while they write out. Unless somewhat entertaining or interesting, students will not pay much attention to what they are writing, just copy. Also, because writing out is slower than just reading, it will longer to work out the meaning and to make anything of it. Rereading the writing after that, often going around the room with students reading out loud(which is also pointless, unless students are being graded on their reading ability), must happen to understand.
Once, not too long ago, in science we were forced to copy down something like 7 projector slides of information about aquaculture. That took up many pages in my book, and no one in the class made much of it. It was just do this or come back at lunch and do it. It also looked like it was just copied off the Internet, probably Wikipedia, but the teacher claimed she wrote it. We were then forced to read it out loud going around the room with different students reading each paragraph. There was enough that we read at least 3 times each. As the writing was uninteresting and my science class is mostly people who aren't so into school, we still did not absorb any information from it.
I did not understand, what was the point of all that? We learnt nothing and wasted 2 weeks. It is not always that extreme, but copying down notes happens quite often. Just imagine it as you go on the Internet to read about something, but as a future reference you decide you want a copy of the text. Instead of printing you write it out with a pen on a piece of paper.
It's not laziness. It's saving time while getting the same value for less work.