Someone once asked me why I was so interested in productivity. My answer was very simple: “Because I’m very lazy, and I don’t want to waste more time doing something than I need to.”
The truth is that I dislike having to exert myself more than is necessary. That doesn’t mean I’m lazy in actually doing the task…quite the opposite. I want to get it done quickly and correctly so that I can return to my own chosen activities.
It seems counter-intuitive, but because I don’t want to waste time and energy on stuff, I actually get more done than someone who isn’t as lazy.
So you’re probably asking, “how can you be lazy and spike your productivity?” The answer lies in selecting the right task and going about it in such a way that you do it quickly, but do it so well you won’t have to redo it.
Let’s look at an example. I was recently assigned to figure out why a search on contracts wasn’t returning a specific person. This was important – my customers needed to find this person in the database, and they knew he had been through the process. Pulling up a script I had used before (reusing saves me the effort of recreating and remembering how everything fits together), I was able to find the reason: the person hadn’t been classified. Someone else might have stopped after fixing the one person’s record, but I thought about why this had happened. It was caused by a situation that had happened with a few dozen people. Having the information in front of me, I was able to write code to insert the classifications. Why would I do this? Because I don’t want to spend the next three months doing the same sort of research on a case-by-case basis. Pure laziness on my part.
I think one of the keys of productivity is being able to apply laziness effectively and not waste effort on things that don’t matter. What do you think?
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