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Level Up Your Lazy

I would argue that the concept of laziness is just another facet of efficiency. Hell, Bill Gates agrees with me.


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Thejus Chakravarthy

2 years ago | 4 min read

For too long, lazy has been used as an insult. Being busy has become a badge of honor, proof that you are keeping your nose to the grindstone. There are wonderful treatise on the anthropological causes, the historical implications, and even the economic impact of ‘being busy’. There’s even more work on the concept of productivity. You could spend the rest of your life trying to read every book about productivity.

Which is pretty much the opposite of being productive.

I would argue that the concept of laziness is just another facet of efficiency. Hell, Bill Gates agrees with me.

I would also argue that laziness has been the cause of almost every advancement in productivity since the dawn of our species. Why fish with a hook, line and sinker when a net is easier? Why go gathering nuts in the woods when you can just grow them outside the house?

I think the problem is that most people just aren’t lazy enough. To that end, I present my Levels of Lazy with the hopes that everyone can be the laziest version of themselves.

Level One: Just not doing it

Shower? Eh, I’m not going out today. Do the laundry? Well, I only wore that pile once, so maybe next weekend. Cook dinner? Meh, delivery’s easier.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash
Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

This is what most people think of as lazy. Simply not doing something. But that doesn’t mean that it goes away. The trash piles up, the deadlines fly by, and now you have to do twice as much work. I call that moment The Event. That point when you have to do something, whether you want to or not.

No one wants to experience The Event, but I can guarantee you’ve had one in the past. Whether it was your folks forcing you to clean up because “we’ve got company” or pulling an all-nighter to finish a project, those were examples of The Event.

If you’re only this lazy, stop being lazy. Or you can try to be even more lazy.

Level Two: Doing just enough

Do the laundry? Well, maybe just the stuff I need to have for work. Deadline? Well, if I do a little every day, I should be able to hit that.

At this level, you’re figuring out the least amount of work necessary to give you a tolerable result and doing that.

This is fine for most people and most situations. Eventually, there may be an Event, depending on the situation. And if you’re okay with that, then stick to this level.

If you don’t ever want to deal with an Event, then you need to level up your lazy.

Level Three: Offload it

A lazy mind at this level realizes that true laziness must come from within. It is not reflected in our actions but in our thoughts. We must become one with the lazy, must feel it flow through us, as much a part of the universe as the flaring of stars and the calling of whales

At Level Three, scheduling and plan away as much as you can. Laundry? I dunno, I just do it when my phone yells at me. Dishes? Post-it above the sink says I do that on Friday. Check work email? Nope, that’s only from 9–10 AM on weekdays. Says so in the calendar.

This still means that you have to do ‘the thing’, but now, you don’t think about doing ‘the thing’. Which is kinda the point of being truly lazy, isn’t it? We aren’t lazy because our bodies are tired. We’re lazy because our minds are tired.

But there’s one final level of lazy. The ultimate level. The final boss.

Final Level: Automation

At this level, you set up systems that do the work for you. There’s no easy way to say this, but this level of lazy takes a lot of thinking and planning. This kind of lazy takes work. But, if you do it right, you can be lazier than you ever thought possible.

Groceries? At Level Three, you plan out your meals for the week and have it delivered using any of the services out there. At the Final Level, you do a little research, find a couple of services that you can bolt together to automate it completely away. This might be some sort of AWS driven, code-snarled horror show, or a virtual PA that has access to your shopping list on Drive, coordinates a delivery for you with Uber and Safeway.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash
Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Laundry? Dump dirty clothes directly into the washer. When it’s full, run the machine. No scheduling, no planning, no thought required at all.

But what if you separate clothing by color, you fanciful unicorn you? Just get rid of any clothes that might run or require separate washing methods.

Don’t wanna toss those fine threads into the donation bin? Well, then you have to accept that you found the limits of your laziness, at least in this arena. You have reached the point where you are as lazy as you can be.

Which also means you are as efficient as you can be. You have managed your time and effort in the best way possible. And not by implementing Agile, GTD, Eisenhower matrices, or any other productivity tools. By simply trying to be the laziest version of yourself.

My point is you can do so much much more by just doing less.

So don’t stop being lazy. Just be lazy all the way.

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Thejus Chakravarthy

I find ways to help people perform to the best of their abilities, make processes as efficient as possible, ensure technology is being used to accelerate not complicate. In the end, there will always be work. But if we do it together, maybe it won't feel like work.


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