Laziness is a lost art - The Lazy Manifesto
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I’m a lazy person. This surprises many, considering that I’m working 40+ hours per week and always seem to have side projects going on. When I have a day off, I’d rather read a book or watch Netflix documentaries on the couch.
I use the same dinner plate for an entire week. I don’t put on makeup and I barely edit my posts. Also, I’m wearing my pajama’s while writing this, really living the good life!
But, what if I told you that this laziness is exactly what is making me more productive, more efficient, and richer?
I believe laziness is a lost art. As with any art, it requires practice and patience. Being lazy seems lost in this time of instant gratification.
When I say laziness, I don’t mean laziness as in distraction; scrolling through Facebook, distracting ourselves, closing the Facebook app, only to open Instagram.
I mean idleness, inaction, when you choose to not do something. No distractions or things that make us even more tired.
Don’t instantly do what everyone asks of you, don’t keep yourself busy with tasks you don’t like, don’t go out and buy things you don’t need, and don’t keep doing everything manually.
Automate your saving, automate your spending, automate your investment, automate everything you can. It will lead you to optimal finances, optimal life, and optimal happiness.
Laziness to be more efficient
My laziness is making me more efficient, but I can understand you’re probably asking; why? How does that make any sense?
Well, I don't like doing things over and over again. So, whether I’m going to the gym, taking an exam, or working on a project at work, I want to do things correctly in one go.
I tend to just work or study hard enough to get that 70% result.
For me, 70% is enough. During school, I always just studied enough to pass the course, I didn’t consider it worth my time to study twice as hard to get 90% on a test.
I work out twice per week, I could work out more but I believe that I have a perfect balance now.
I had a really interesting insight about this a few months ago when I talked to a friend. She told me:
Why would you always give your 100%? People don’t know whether it’s your 100% or your 50%, they might as well be equally satisfied with your 50%.
For example, my friend was a journalist.
She would write journal articles for Dutch papers and magazines. Often, she worked for hours to make the articles perfect before she would send it to the editor, and they were always really satisfied with her work.
One day, she was coming up short on time. She drafted an article, edited it once and sent it to the editors feeling like it wasn’t her 100%. The editors loved it as much as her other articles. Why?
Because, for them, it was 100%.
She only spent 1/4th of the time writing that article. Nowadays, she only spends that 1/4th amount of time for all her articles. She needed to tweak some things here and there, but major reviews were never necessary.
This means that she now earns 4x the income from an article since she spends significantly less time on it.
I am putting this into practice in my work.
When my manager is asking me to prepare a financial report, I take the one from last year and plug in this years numbers. Or I make a quick draft before I sent it, to make sure we’re on the same page before I put in all of my time.
Laziness to be more successful
Laziness helps me to be more productive. But, it also helps me to be more successful. Through what most people would consider to be "laziness", I am drafting more documents than my colleagues are finishing, I am delivering more output and everyone thinks I’m really hard working.
I love to chat with my colleagues, take walks after lunch, and spend time thinking before doing. I am convinced that I spend less time working, but why do they perceive me as hard working?
One reason is that I spent only my time on things that are relevant and worth my time. If I am doing some routine work, I don’t really put effort into it and just get it over with.
When I’m analyzing and doing challenging tasks, however, I always think about simple ways of doing things. Doing things better. Faster.
I’m all about automation and long term optimization. Honestly, I would rather spend two hours finding out how to optimize something than actually doing the job for two hours. It gives me way more satisfaction.
Especially in the long run when that assignment comes up again.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to work overtime unless absolutely necessary. So I prioritize my work, schedule it so that I’m always working on the most urgent and important tasks. Some of my colleagues are working on certain analysis and documents that I know no one is reading (they know it too). They’re just too used to doing it.
Don’t be that person.
Also, one really important thing that I want to teach you:
Being busy does not equal importance.
If you’re busy, it doesn’t mean that what you’re doing is important. It simply means that there's a lot you're doing. Try to do the essentials first, so that when you have time left you can work on all the other things.
Let laziness act as a filter; once you think something is so important that you want to devote time doing it, only then should you start. You don’t want to be busy but feel unfulfilled, because what you’re doing is not important to you.
The one significant thing that I learned over the past year, is asking: why? Why are you doing it like that? Why are we not doing it like that? Why should I do this task?
It shows that you want to understand something and that you're actively engaged. If you know why they do it like that, you can more effectively optimize the task and make your manager happy!
Over time, I’ve asked a lot of why, prioritized importance over busyness, and strive for optimal satisfaction at my job.
Laziness to reach FIRE sooner
Now we get to the juicy stuff, how my laziness made me richer.
Last Monday, I got promoted at my job. I believe that is because of the points mentioned above.
- I ask why
- I prioritize so that the important things get done first, and
- I try to optimize my tasks as much as possible
When people tell me "that’s how it has always been done", I don’t buy it.
This resulted in me having €500 extra gross income per month in 2019, which is amazing!
Rather than earning more money, I also save a lot of money by being lazy. I only grocery shop once per week, because why would I go every day when I really only need to go once per week?
I only buy very simple meals, because I don’t like to spend time cooking. Also, I prepare meals for at least 3x dinner, so I only have to cook 2-3x per week (lunch and dinner combined).
I want to go and buy things, but then I’m too lazy to actually go shopping.
I rather spend my weekends relaxing than immersing myself into the craziness of shopping on a Saturday. A lot of times, I notice that I don’t really need things and I end up not buying them.
One other thing that I do is automate everything.
I don’t want to transfer money every month so I just put it on autopilot. I save X amount of money every month, I invest X amount of money every month and I have X amount for spending every month.
This means I pay myself first every month, without even thinking about it.
This way, I automatically have my finances and my savings covered. And, this leads to reaching Financial Independence and Retire Early faster and easier, while still being lazy and taking things easy.
The one thing that I want you to take away is: Time and peace should not be luxury items. Don’t try to be perfect, to do everything at once, or to keep yourself busy.
Most of the time, 70% of your effort is enough. You don’t always have to give 110%. Automate things, pay yourself first, and you’ll be Financially Independent and Retired Early before you know it!