‘I am a hard worker’, is a quality every job interviewer expects an interviewee to tom-tom at the time of hiring. Fair enough—after all, why would you pay someone to do a job unless you are getting your money’s worth, right?
Hiring hard workers is a great thing for companies, but it’s not so great when it comes to people like me. Because I’m a lazy person. Not slothful in the sense that I never get out of bed, but lazy because I like to put in the least effort required to do any work.
Interestingly, while putting in the least amount of effort required to do any kind of work may be deemed lazy, it is also a smart way to be productive. Nobel laureate, Daniel Kahneman in his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, talks about what he calls the Law of Least Effort. According to this law, if a task can be done in several ways, we are likely to do it in a way that requires the least amount of work. If we automatically use the least amount of effort, then what is the issue? The problem arises when the way that requires the least effort is not always clear to us. So we train ourselves to do work as it’s always been done, assuming that’s the easiest way. However, there’s almost always a better way. If you want to champion your laziness, then you have to find this super-productive, better way.
In school and college, the dominant way to complete assignments was procrastination—delaying the task till the last possible minute. Everyone did it, and so did I. Till I found a better way. I experimented with completing all my assignments as soon as possible and found that it eliminated stress caused at the last minute, which required greater effort to complete the task. I finished my assignments early in order to go back to being comfortably lazy and be least effortful through the rest of the period.
After college, my first job was at a digital marketing company where I was handling social media management. It was a boring and tedious job. After a week, I was convinced I couldn’t do it any longer. My laziness was compelling me to quit, and I would’ve done so had my friends not talked me out of it and had I not realized how terrible it would look on my CV. So, I went into solution mode—how to do this tedious job with the bare minimum effort? I researched and found a free software that could automate almost 80% of my tasks. Turns out I was promoted in under four months. This made me realize that if you just spend some time figuring out how to simplify your tasks, you can cruise through life with minimal effort.
In my working life, I have figured most people see hard work as the ability to get tasks done as they are. For me, it is about the ability to increase the efficiency of every task that is required, and freeing up time to be lazy. So remember, a small step of effort in the beginning can mean a giant leap for your laziness eventually.
Vrinda Prahladka is a graduate of the University of Southern California and the London School of Economics. A curriculum specialist at Harappa Education, her claim to fame is that she’s met the Kardashians!
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