If the mother of invention is necessity, maybe laziness is the father of efficiency? Tedious tasks are no fun, endlessly repeated routines are a bore and dirty work becomes drudgery from the get go.
Frantic and frequent moving about that doesn't contribute to the bottom line is just a front
Yet, so much of what we do in our businesses can seem tedious—and can lead to laziness, or cries of "I just don't wanna!"
Some may say you're being lazy, or call you a slacker, but your "laziness" might just be your natural inclination for making your business run more efficiently—and more profitably.
It's a matter of perspective
Who doesn't despise mundane duties that bear little benefit? To the unfocused businessperson, this "activity" may be labeled an "accomplishment," except it's not.
Frantic and frequent moving about that doesn't contribute to the bottom line is just a front. Are those who dread such activities lazy? Nope.
If you're among is group, your apathy toward such endeavors—the kind that might make you look as if you're achieving something useful but are only wasting your time—set you in the best direction to do something about it.
"It shouldn't possibly take this much effort to get this done!" you might cry out. Listen to that cry—it's the welcome omen of a healthy business mind. And that mind benefits when you take some time to just sit and think!
You might worry you're not getting anything done as you ponder your approach. Actually, you're being quite active—mentally. The trick is to allot only a certain amount of time to sitting on that "thinking chair" of yours. Then, when the time is up, get up and take these steps to erase the waste in your business operations.
Step 1. Reduce your steps
Among the biggest time wasters are the unnecessary steps taken to achieve a result
"I'm tired of climbing up and down stairs to fulfill a customer's order!" "I've had it with this process that takes so long to manage my daily orders!" you might say to yourself. Good for you.
Among the biggest time wasters are the unnecessary steps taken to achieve a result. It's all about moving with a purpose, every step refined to achieve maximum result, each justified in its importance to completing a task that measurably propels the business goal.
There's nothing lazy about tiring from walking in circles, marching back and forth across the same room as you try to complete a task. Ask yourself if what you do in your business involves more movement than you believe it should. That's your efficient intellect talking to you.
Chart your steps, draw your process on paper, hang a pedometer on your hip and get all of the information in front of you, so you can search out the waste. Sometimes all it takes is a portion of a day to analyze your movements, and quickly expose wasted effort and time. And if you have others working with you, observe their movements, too, and look for ways to streamline their processes.
Step 2. Eliminate rework
There's an old business adage that says, "If you don't have time to do it right the first time, where will you ever find time to do it again?"
This is the counter-weight for those who might go too far in eliminating steps. They take costly shortcuts to reach the finish line. The problem is they've arrived at their goal with less than what they needed to actually win. They'll need to go back and get the rest of what was required to properly complete the race.
Efficiency is key in any process, but sloppiness for the sake of speed will typically require repeating that process for the same desired result. Now it's taken twice as long—plus additional effort—to achieve the goal. That's not lazy; it's just foolish.
It's healthy to continue to streamline a process, but it becomes counterproductive if that drive begins to hamper results
And yet, if your process requires you to retrace and repeat steps, the efficient businessperson will see the waste in that method. He or she will go back to the process analysis to find out why steps are being repeated to determine where the breakdown is occurring, then make improvements to get the job done right the first time, in less time.
Step 3. Obsess less
Sometimes the unwitting result of striving for ultimate efficiency can be fanatical obsession.
It's healthy to continue to streamline a process, but it becomes counterproductive if that drive begins to hamper results, or causes a loss of quality or satisfaction—yours, your crew's, or your customers'.
If you go too far in your quest for reducing activity, maybe making your process so efficient that it doesn't require much if any activity from you, well, that's lazy.
When you've mapped your process and the steps it requires, monitor its results (in order volume or sales revenue), and be sure it's on the uptick. Introduce additional changes you believe will further improve results, but if the results begin to fade, you might have already reached your "sweet spot" in that process.
When you can do that, proven by your sustained results, you'll know you've driven waste out of your approach. For that, you deserve to lean back, put your feet up and savor the moment.
That's not lazy; that's a hard-earned success!