The art of laziness

Never before have I ever though that laziness could be good, but recently I discovered the art behind being lazy. Being lazy is not leaving tasks uncompleted or procrastinating but is all about doing things the quickest and easiest way.

On hearing this, you may think that this is a strange or relatively new idea, but it is not. William of Ockham(1287-1347) was the first to use the Occam's Razor principle. This principle generally means that the simplest solution is more likely to be better. An example is when you notice a tree has fallen down after a storm. The most likely reason for the tree to have fallen down is that the storm blew it down.  This reason requires one assumption; that a strong wind that knocked over the tree. For you to consider that space aliens caused the tree to fall down, you would have to assume that aliens exist, that they visit earthed and that they caused the tree to fall down. As the first reason uses less assumptions, it is more likely to be correct.

Can this be used to our advantage? Of course.

Occam's Razor is about using the simplest solution. When someone is being lazy, they put in as little work as possible. In doing this, they will choose the simplest solution. Occam's Razor tells us that the simplest solution is more likely to do a better job than a more complex one.

Putting Occam's Razor into practice is easy. Be lazy, choose the simplest solutions and end up picking a solution that is more likely to be better.

Yet another reason to be lazy is Pareto's Principle, or the 80/20 Rule. In 1906, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto created a mathematical formula to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in his country, observing that twenty percent of the people owned eighty percent of the wealth. This ratio is repeated throughout society. When it is applied to a project it means that a few (20 percent) things are vital and many (80 percent) are trivial.

Introducing Pareto's Principle into our pattern of laziness is easy; Only do the important 20 percent of the project. By doing this in a work environment, you can cut the costs it takes to complete a project and save time. The result is that more projects can be completed in the same budget and this is always a good thing.

Now we can justify being lazy. It is just a matter of:

  • Find the simplest solutions
  • Only use the simplest solutions
  • Were the is a lot to do, only do the important 20 percent of the task
  • Enjoy Life
  • Be lazy
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