Mike turned to me and said, “He’s joining my team, I like him, because he is lazy, lazy people find easier ways to do things.”
On another occasion a friend of mine remarked “Can you believe we put people in space, before we thought to put wheels on a suitcase.”
The two examples above reminded me how in our current society we glorify being busy, confusing being busy with achieving something. This is one of the reasons why I re-listen to Lazy: A Manifesto every few months. It gives me perspective, I then reset my balance. It is in my, at times forced, lazy moments that I find inspiration and clarity. The solutions sitting hazily in my peripheral vision come into focus.
There are numerous examples and opportunities where being lazy has resulted in a better result, if not in outcome, then certainly in return on time taken. A key take away from The 4-Hour Work Week is the 80:20 rule or Pareto Principle. Which is simplistically that 80% of the benefits come from 20% of the effort. Most people have heard about Pareto and conceptually understand this rule, but few people actually put it into practice. It is only the lazy that truly embrace and benefit from it.
For this blog post, I was too lazy to come up with all the examples below. So I posted a request on Facebook, asking for ideas, crowd-sourcing gave me a broader and better perspective with little effort from my side.
A Ketogenic diet can be used by the lazy to have more energy, it is for people who are too lazy to count calories. Another example is making vegetable based smoothies as a quick and easy way to make and consume meals. The lazy might eat eggs because they are pretty nutritionally complete and can’t be bothered making a “real” meal, all arguably result in healthier living.
When learning to run, it was made easier for me by Southern rail, who kept cancelling the trains that I used on my commute. If I ran home, it was about 40 minutes door to door. If I timed the half-hourly trains, it was about 30 minutes door to door. It just became easier to run home.
I watch people doing the same manipulation to data and reports every month, taking hours at a time. I am too lazy to do that, so I template in repetitive tasks, I do it once and then just refresh it. Others take this a step further than me, they use programming language to do it all for them at the click of a button. The true masters of laziness get a developer (someone else) to automate it for them.
I see people in work using the “just in time” method to complete tasks. They wait….procrastinate…wait…..then panic! By leaving things that are not critical, over time become critical! With limited time and high degrees of urgency, it forces a high level of focus and all unnecessary aspects and tasks are ignored.
A parent hack from one contributor found that trying to get her kid into clothes in the morning for kindergarten was impossible. So she just let him wear the next day’s clothes as pyjamas. He’d wake up and be ready. Less painful and a better result for all.
The above examples are intended just to give flavour for how delicious being lazy can be. I encourage you to try.
Some general principles to leveraging lazy:
- Make it harder or a decision not to do it. Put the biscuit tin at the top of the shelf.
- If it feels like the result was not worth the effort, it probably wasn’t. Find a result that is. Ask how much time I am prepared to invest in this and what result can I get. Not what is the best result that I can get.
- Don’t see it as lazy, rather re-brand it as efficient.
Perhaps we should all spend less time admonishing lazy and more time leveraging it.
Have more examples? – Why not share them below?