Lazy: “disinclined to activity or exertion” –Merriam-Webster Online
I was recently talking to someone about starting this blog, and she asked me why I was so interested in productivity. My answer to her was very simple: “Because I’m very lazy, and I don’t want to waste more time doing something than I need to.”
“His letter was soon dispatched; for, though dilatory in undertaking business, he was quick in its execution.” —Pride and Prejudice (Bantam Classics) (aff) by Jane Austen
The truth is that I dislike having to exert myself more than is necessary, particularly if it is in a task that has been given to me. 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 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.
Some of you might be skeptical of this, but Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (aff) is partially based on this principle. After all, the main reason you are instructed to get things out of your head and down on paper is so that you don’t have to waste energy thinking about the same things more than once.
There’s another aspect of the laziness. I don’t want to be bogged down doing “busy work.” While at a client site, if there is nothing else to do, I will do unmeaningful tasks, but if asked to do something meaningless when there are more important work waiting, I will push back.
There are other theories of time management that are based on this concept, too. In Time Management: The Pickle Jar Theory, Jeremy talks about how you need to fill your time management “jar” with the biggest “rocks” (the most important tasks) or your jar will be filled with the pebbles and there will be no room for the important stuff.
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?