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Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

How To Make Your Laziness In Productiveness

You’re feeling lazy right now, and reading blogs instead of doing what you’re supposed to be doing. That’s OK — we all do that. We’re all lazy, in different forms, at one time or another.

But let’s look at how to make that laziness work for us, and how to turn lazy into productive.

We often beat ourselves up about our laziness, even though it’s a natural condition that every human being gets to some extent. It’s time to stop the self-criticism and see how laziness can actually be a positive, no matter what society tells us.

Here’s an observation: often the smartest people are the laziest ones. They’re always looking for ways to get out of work, or do make something easier, and their creative ways of doing that have come up with some of the most ingenius, productive inventions: the computer, the microwave, the car, the Clapper, to name but a few.

Now, I don’t know about you, but laziness doesn’t seem so bad to me when you look at it that way. Let’s see how laziness can actually be productivity if you use it the right way.

Make not doing it harder. We lazy people hate doing hard stuff. So let’s use that for us. Let’s say there’s something hard that I need to do right now. Of course, I don’t feel like doing it. But if I put up obstacles that make it harder NOT to do it, then I’m going to do it, because I’m too lazy to do the even harder stuff. For example, if I’m prone to watching television instead of working, and I put the remote on the roof of my house, well, it would be too hard to get a ladder to get that remote. And being lazy, I hate to watch TV without a remote. So I’ll get to work instead. Same concept could be applied to the Internet — take your cable modem’s cable and give it to someone to hold until after lunch. Or tell people that if you don’t complete this project on time, you will wash their cars. Engineer a solution that will make you more likely to actually do what you need to do.

Be productive to avoid doing something. Now turn that concept on its head. It’s an idea called Structured Procrastination, and written about much earlier by Robert Benchley in a great article called Getting Things Done from 1949. The basic concept is that in order to avoid doing something difficult, you’ll do a bunch of other things instead. A lot of those other things might also be important too, so you’re being productive because you’re too lazy to do the most important thing on your list. So, to implement this, put one really hard task at the top of your list, and a bunch of other important stuff below it. Now, tell yourself you really must, must get that first task done right away. If you’re feeling lazy, you’ll do the other stuff on the list instead. Now, when more important stuff comes up, the first item of the list gets pushed down and will get done.

Delegate. Lazy people like to become managers, so they can delegate things to others and look productive while doing that. Even if you aren’t a manager, learn how to delegate to your coworkers or even to your boss. Look at your to-do list and see if you can delegate half of it. If in doubt, route it and ask for input. Now you can cross off half the items on your list and you haven’t done anything!

Automate. Instead of doing the same things over and over, see if you can find a way to automate it. This will require that creativity that lazy people have. You can find ways for the computer to automate it, or give others the authority to do something following certain rules without your approval, or outsource something you really don’t want to do all the time. Great! Cross off more items from your to-do list without actually doing anything.

Eliminate. Now look at your remaining items on your to-do list (assuming you weren’t too lazy to write out a to-do list — if you are, it can be something you do to avoid doing something more difficult). How many of these items absolutely have to be done? Is there any way you can eliminate some of them, especially ones that you really don’t want to do? You can always go and ask to be removed from a project for one reason or another, or say that you have too many commitments and can’t do this right now. OK, more items off your list without doing anything!

Stall. Another good way to cross things off your to-do list without actually doing them is to not do them until they are no longer needed. I’ve done this many times — I stall and delay and procrastinate on something, doing other things I’d rather be doing, and then in a week or two, those things I was procrastinating on are no longer necessary. Turns out they didn’t matter anyway.
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Posted by Ajay :: 12:35 PM :: 0 comments

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