How Laziness Improved my Productivity + Case Study

People associate laziness with being unproductive. In certain ways, and if used effectively, laziness can help you improving your productivity! Shocked? I felt the same. But in this post you will find how laziness improved my productivity!

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Well, first of all it is important to know which state of laziness we are talking about.

By lazy, I don’t mean people that refuse to get up from the sofa.

Those people aren’t lazy, they simply don’t have an intention. They don’t have a purpose to get up from the sofa.

If you have this type of problem, figure yourself first, and find what you really want for your life.

I don’t mean what you think you can have. I mean what YOU WANT! Think about the things that would make you crazy (in a positive way). That would make you so happy that you wouldn’t know how to describe them.

Write them down, and glue a paper with those things in your wall. Every morning read that paper, and remember: That is what I really want. Why am I not doing something that will keep me closer to accomplish my goal?

Now let’s continue to talk about laziness, a smarter type of laziness.

I’m not that much lazy (right now), as I wanted to be, but I’m working on it. I’m putting everything into practise and I’m actually improving! But I want even more smart laziness in my life! 

This sounds really weird, but honestly it’s a great way to live your life, improving your productivity and achieving what you want in less time, by being lazy.

But what exactly do I mean when referring to lazy people?

Lazy people hate to do unnecessary things. They hate to waste time with tasks that aren’t important, or that won’t bring them results.

Those are the lazy people I like. People that only do the really important stuff, and forget about small tasks that are unnecessary.

Just to reinforce, this type of laziness isn’t associated with people that don’t want to work. 

Lazy smart people refuse to do things that aren’t effective. They basically create and invent their own methods, to only do stuff that brings them results. I call it: smart laziness.

And that is the type of laziness I’m trying and will achieve! And that is what you should be doing too.

But how can you actually use laziness to your own benefit? Learn how laziness improved my productivity (and still does)! 

How Laziness Improved my Productivity + Case Study

#1: Work Smarter!

For me, this is the most important step to be a smart lazy person.

Here’s the thing, you got a ton of different tasks to do. But honestly, only one of them is really important. But who is going to make the other ones?

Here’s an example of a list of tasks/goals to achieve:

  1. Grow my website traffic
  2. Follow a bunch of people in twitter
  3. Retweet my blog posts
  4. Share my website in 15 Facebook groups
  5. Pin my blog posts
  6. Create an instagram account
  7. Ask people to visit my website
  8. Get people to subscribe to my newsletter

And believe me, this list could go on and on!

Thanks to some good books I read, I know this isn’t the right approach to grow your website traffic (in the beginning), or get more costumers, in case you have a business/product.

Re-read your to do list. Do you really need to do all that stuff to get more traffic to your website? Isn’t there a more easy way? In your list, what is the thing that brought you more results in the past? Could you make that task even easier?

In my case, I would cut all the tasks I wrote, and I would only stay with this one: “Pin my blog posts” in order to grow the amount of people that read my articles.

Why? Because I have stats of my website traffic, and I know most of my traffic comes from Pinterest.

Why using twitter, when only a really small percentage of my readers comes from there? I’m not saying twitter isn’t important! But right now, I feel that I should focus more on Pinterest. 

Maybe in the future I can change my opinion, but right now my efforts are going to Pinterest!

Here’s how I would re-create my to do list:

Goal: Grow my website traffic to ____ visitors per week/month/year by _______. (specify your goal and the date you want to achieve it).

Tasks I should be doing to bring more traffic through Pinterest:

  1. Pin my blog posts
  2. Optimise my boards and photos descriptions
  3. Interact with other people’s pins

A lazy person would prefer this list of tasks instead of the first one. Why?

  1. It would take them less time
  2. Doing only 3 tasks would bring them more results than doing 10

So yes, you should start being lazy in order to get more results in less time! That doesn’t mean you don’t need to put effort and spend time in those tasks.

It only means, you will be much more focused in what brings you results, instead of trying to do 10 different things in one day.

#2: Question Everything

Smart lazy people question everything they do!

“Do I really need to do this?”, “do I really need to spend hours on this?”, “can’t I optimise this process?”, “how could I cut this from my to do list?”…

Questions are even more important than answers. Because good questions create change. And that’s exactly what we should be looking for.

Next time you need to do a specific task (whatever it might be), question it! Isn’t really a way of making that task even better with less time?

Let’s copy the previous example from the first topic.

Tasks I should be doing to bring more traffic through Pinterest:

  1. Pin my blog posts
  2. Optimise my boards and photos descriptions
  3. Interact with other people’s pins

Let’s question those 3 tasks in order to make them easier for us:

  1. Pin my blog posts – well, this might take a considerable amount of time. Because it is something I need to do every day, if I want to grow my traffic, right? So what could I be doing to spend less time in this, and still have great results?
  2. Creating descriptions takes time. How could I optimise this process?
  3. Interacting on pinterest is really important to have more online exposition. Could I do it in a smarter way?

Believe me or not, only those quick questions already gave me some great ideas to optimise my Pinterest account, in order to have more people reading my content.

Action: Review your to do list for today, and question everything you could be doing to save yourself time and still get great results.

#3: Delegate, or not?

Spending time in those tasks takes time, of course. So you should be asking yourself if you could delegate some of your work to other people.

In this moment, I can’t do that very frequently. Because I almost don’t get any revenue with my online work, yet.

If you have the money to do it, then you should be doing it! But what to delegate?

Let’s again copy those 3 tasks from the previous example:

  1. Pin my blog posts
  2. Optimise my boards and photos descriptions
  3. Interact with other people’s pins

We also questioned those tasks before:

  1. Pin my blog posts – well, this might take a considerable amount of time. Because it is something I need to do every day, if I want to grow my traffic, right? So what could I be doing to spend less time in this, and still have great results?
  2. Creating descriptions takes time. How could I optimise this process?
  3. Interacting on Pinterest is really important to have more online exposition. Could I do it in a smarter way?

Now, you need to think if you can delegate them to other people, or not.

The first and second task (“pin my blog posts” and “optimise my boards and photos descriptions”), I think I can absolutely delegate them and skip this manual work. 

In this case, I could be paying someone to create images to promote my blog posts. And then they could pin them every day. And I could also delegate my pin’s and boards descriptions.

As I do not have money to invest, I would do this: 

  1. Blocking a period of time in my schedule to create a bunch of designs for my blog posts.
  2. Then, I would find a good Pinterest scheduler, and schedule my pins to that week.
  3. I would take some time to also create a pin description for each of the post I wanted to share.

This way, I would save a considerable amount of time, and I would still get the same results! Awesome, right?

The only task I wouldn’t delegate, would be the third one (“Interact with other people’s pins”).

Because it is something that I really enjoy doing and that allows me to find people with the same interests as me.

The fact that I optimise most of the tasks, I have time to do and create more human interaction with my followers!

As you can see, delegating tasks is the easiest way to save time, and still get effective results.

But if you don’t have the money to invest, you could delegate some of the tasks you have to do, to a specific software or service (in my case, a Pinterest scheduler).

#4: Organise yourself in the smartest way possible

People associate laziness with disorganisation. But it isn’t necessarily always the case.

So no, you don’t need to create TONS of different documents and folders, to organise your to-do-list.

I created folders (inside evernote, nozbe, etc), with the projects I’m working on.

This way, depending on the number of projects you have, you only need to check a few folders everyday to manage your tasks. 

Example of projects folders you could have:

  1. Blog/website
  2. School/work
  3. Home
  4. Others…

This could be the organisation of a smart lazy person (it is mine too)! There’s no need to create dozens of folders with to-do-lists for tomorrow, for the weekends, with hundreds of things that aren’t necessary.

Don’t forget, “20% of effort, produces 80% of the results”. Make sure you are focusing in the right 20%!

#5: Prioritise your tasks

When I have more than 1 task to complete, I need to know which one I’m going to do first.

So I have a method that helps me to know for which one I should start. I ask myself these questions: 

  1. Does any of these tasks have a delivery time? Or it needs to be done quickly as possible? Then, I start doing that task first.
  2. Which of those tasks could make other tasks easy, or even allow me to delete them completely from my to-do list?
  3. Which ones could I delegate?

For example, if my main goal is to grow my website traffic, then I should prioritise what will make that goal achievable. 

And again, I should delete tasks that won’t bring me real results, and focus on the ones that I know will work better for me.

So if I know Pinterest brings most of my website traffic, then I should stop spending the same amount of hours on twitter. Because I could be using those hours on Pinterest as they will bring me more results (according to my website analytics).

When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. If you know “X” produces 80% more results than “Y”, why are you spending the same amount of time and effort in “X” and “Y”?

This is the type of laziness you want to achieve! The one that brings you higher and better results in the least amount of time. Who doesn’t want this?

Google hires lazy programmers, because Google knows they will simplify things, in order to make those tasks easier for them.

Again, they aren’t lazy because they don’t want to work. No, they just focus on what is really important and that makes their goals possible to achieve in a shorter period of time.

Be like google programmers! 

#6: How Laziness improved my productivity

In resume, there’s no need to spend hours doing things that aren’t effective. Instead change your focus to what is proved that will bring you more results in long term!

Here’s a general view of what I explained before:

#1: Work Smarter – focus your time and energy in tasks that will bring you 80% of the results.

#2: Question Everything – question all the tasks you need to do, and find ways to make them more easy to achieve

#3: Delegate, or not? – consider delegating some tasks to a freelancer, or to a smart-software.

#4: Organise yourself in a smarter way – I don’t waste a ton of time creating numerous folders to organise myself. I only do what is necessary to organise my work easily.

#5: Prioritise tasks – if there’s a delivery date coming, it should be my priority. If not, I start by doing the tasks that will bring me more results.

There’s no more excuses to postpone your work! You can be lazy while doing productive things! *celebration party*

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