Organized People Are Lazy

Posted on September 17, 2007 by
Categories: Organization
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 9 seconds

This week is Laziness Week at SimpleProductivityBlog. I am off being lazy, and taking advantage of the post-ahead features of this blog.


People have often commented at my great organization skills, wondering what the secret is.

The truth is that I am lazy. I never want to put more effort into anything than is necessary. I want to exert the minimum amount of energy to get the results I want, and no more. That is the essence of laziness.

My organization skills are a direct growth of this principle. I put things away in consistent spots because I don’t want to waste time looking for them. I have lists of things to do around the house so that no small job ever grows into a monster. I keep track of everything I do at work and when so that when I am asked to produce a time line or documentation, I can do that without thinking about it.

I ran across an article over at LifeHack talking about this very concept, and boiling it down to four points. I think they are worth considering and expounding on.

1. How can I do this faster?

The fundamental concept behind this question is how to eliminate unnecessary actions from whatever you are doing. This will automatically save time, while streamlining the process to make it faster. It takes a bit of thinking, but boiling each thing you do down to the essentials will cut a lot of unnecessary work out of your life.

On the flip side of this, you can look at it from the standpoint of the faster you can get through something you don’t want to do, the faster you can get back to the stuff you want to.

A word of caution here. Never sacrifice quality for speed. If you do a shoddy job on whatever you are attempting, you will have to spend more time later to re-do it or fix it. Spend the time necessary to do the job completely and well; but no more than that.

2. How can I not do this at all?

Let’s look at a phrase (all in small letters for a reason) “do i have to do this?”. Now let’s examine emphasis on certain words:

“Do I have to do this?” Are you the best person for the job? This is a cost analysis. Sure, you can change your car’s oil yourself, but when you factor in the time you spend, plus supplies, is it worth it? Especially if you detest the job? Outsource those things you can to others.

“Do I have to do this? Is this task necessary? Does it have to be done at all? Do you really have to scrub the grout in the shower every week with a toothbrush?

Do I have to do this? Is this something that would be better left alone? So many things get complicated because we meddle. What would happen if you left the item undone?

3. How will I remember this later?

Recreating the wheel is for the non-lazy person. Organized and lazy people don’t research phone numbers more than once. They are transcribed into the place phone numbers are kept. It applies all around life: for example, at work, I am often asked to update a particular piece of data. The first time I saved my script. The second time it became obvious this was going to happen frequently, so I put the whole programming sequence in my keyboard macro and generalized it so all I have to do is type in a name at the top. The next 20 times I ran the script it took me less than 30 seconds to complete. Which leads me to another of my laziness tricks: I use a keyboard macro program on my computer (both work and home). I have macros set up from everything from email addresses to complete headers. Anything that I will type more than once goes in there with a shortcut.

Written lists are also a good way to make this work for routine jobs. If you know you need to perform a certain number of tasks every week, say for housecleaning, having them written down makes them easy. You don’t have to think about what needs to be done.

4. How can I use my time better?

If I am forced to be somewhere physically but have the ability to do something else mentally, I will have something with me to turn the time to good use. I always have reading or the ability to answer email with me.

The other big one is I don’t multitask anymore. I have written about this before, but I stick to it. I don’t waste time shifting between tasks.

Being Lazy And Organized

You might want to give some thought to being lazier. Or be more organized, if you don’t like the Lazy label. But in either case, you will find that you spin your wheels less and are actually more productive. Try it, and see!


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