Working smarter not harder: Career hacks for lazy people
Raise your hand if you spend your life moving clean washing from your bed to a hamper back to the bed, or have ever texted someone in the next room rather than get up, or ordered UberEats despite having perfectly good food in your fridge. Ok you don’t actually have to raise your hand (I know it’s exhausting) – but c’mon, we’ve all left a terrible movie on TV because reaching for the remote is too much effort.
Just me? Moving on…
Everyone takes little shortcuts every once in a while – they make our lives easier and sometimes even more enjoyable. But when you’re at work, the last thing you want to be seen as is lazy or unproductive. That doesn’t mean that you have to forego all your lazy ways; the concept of working smarter rather than harder will allow you to take some concessions to make your work day easier, more streamlined, and productive.
Here are a couple of hacks for making your work day work for you.
It all starts at home
There’s a reason the clichéd adage “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” is so overused – it’s pretty accurate. Your attitude towards the day starts as soon as you wake up and start your getting-ready-routine. In order to have the best work day possible, there are a few things you can do to put your best foot forward, laziness permitting.
You know yourself; you know once your alarm goes off you’re going to snooze twice before your actual alarm starts buzzing half an hour later, that you intend on having breakfast but the bus somehow seems to arrive earlier than you think every day, and that you’re probably going to spend a good part of the morning aimlessly scrolling on social media unless something miraculously prevents you from doing so.
But, as Brian Tracy says, “Preparation is the mark of the professional in today’s competitive environment.” [x] Luckily for you, preparation the night before is the lazy person’s dream. Feeling lazy the night before, too, is of course a road block, but if you think of your future self as someone you love very much and like to take care of, it makes it easier to do a couple of things in the moment to prevent a lot of stress the next day.
Even if you’re feeling unmotivated, try a couple of the following things in the evening to streamline your next morning:
- Lay out your clothes
- Bonus lazy step: ditch the iron and instead hang any wrinkled clothes in the bathroom. When you have a shower, the steam will easily beautify your outfit, no need to get out the ironing board.
- Make breakfast or get everything you need ready
- Have your bag packed
Of course, life happens, and even with the best intentions you might not have everything prepared every night. For happenstances and missteps, create a little care package for yourself to get you out of any sticky situations. You could keep this in your desk or work bag, and stock it full of things like a toothbrush, toothpaste, Berocca, painkillers, and hygiene products. You’ll thank yourself later.
Outsource your productivity
Once again, knowing yourself and the ways in which you work are key to outsourcing your productivity. Teams sometimes have existing planning tools, such as Microsoft Planner which we use here at UTS, but it’s important that you also have a way of self-managing your tasks.
You might be like me, who has an extensive and confusing-to-everyone-else to-do list system, or you might prefer to use apps to stay on top of your work. Below are just a few ways you can outsource your productivity, and continue your lazy ways while still getting sh*t done.
For the multi-media worker: Evernote
Keep all your voice memos, notes, and images in just one place with Evernote. If you’re more of an auditory learner and like to record meetings, you can do that with this tool, as well as add voice or text attachments. They’re all shareable too, meaning you can send off content easily to your team. If you enjoy working in a variety of ways, this is the one for you.
For the visual worker: Mindnode
Great for mind mapping, Mindnode comes with a bunch of visual tags and templates to get your brainstorms looking good. If you like having everything laid out in front of you so you can focus, try this app out.
For the rushed worker: Focus Keeper
Using the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, Focus Keeper eliminates the anxiety and stress that comes with assessing the priority of a bunch of different tasks. It assists in avoiding burnout and time management by helping you target what tasks have the highest priority. This is great for people who struggle with procrastination.
For the unfocused worker: Forest
You might have seen this app making the rounds – it’s a fun, simple, and visually engaging way to help you stay focused and complete your tasks. Whenever you need some assistance staying focused, plant a virtual tree on Forest and, if you’re successful in sticking with your tasks, you can watch the tree grow. When you have a visual representation of the time you’ve spent focused, you’re more likely to achieve your best!
Pick up the phone
Picture this: the deadline for a big project you’ve been working on is looming closer and closer. You’re sending out emails left and right, ironing out the details with a colleague from another organisation, but the email chain has snowballed into a confusing mess of CC’s, attachments, and auto-replies. You’re tearing your hair out trying to make sense of everything, and to top it all off your colleague has become a slow replier.
What do you do next? You could continue to send out emails, hoping that someone gets back to you before the deadline, but nothing’s guaranteed and it’s likely to cause you even more stress. Instead of wasting your time and energy, pick up the phone.
For young people especially, talking on the phone isn’t our first instinct – we grew up with the advent of text-based communication like MSN messenger, and the ever presence of technology now makes it easier than ever to chat while never speaking a word. But that’s what makes it so important! You can eliminate so much time and stress by giving someone a quick call, or (even better!) talking in person if that’s an option.
While it’s a bit of pressure in the moment, and phone-xiety is totally real and valid, talking to your colleagues is actually a lazy person’s dream. Cut out hours of stress with just a quick chat!
Practise your elevator pitch
Your elevator pitch is usually a couple of sentences, no more than about a minute speaking time, explaining your work, goals, and interests. It’s meant to be engaging and simple – the kind of speech you can easily whip out when talking to someone at a networking event – a kind of pitch for yourself.
Read this past blog post for detailed advice for drafting a stellar elevator pitch. It’ll take a little bit of time and practice to nail your pitch, but keeping it in your back pocket for a future industry event, workshop, or even casual chat will save heaps of stress and worry in the long run.
Don’t let your lazy side get the best of you at work – there are ways you can stay on top of things without sacrificing some of your lazy ways. Get out there and succeed!
Or like… get out there when you can be bothered. You’ll get there eventually.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a UTS Communications (Creative Writing) graduate, and current Communications Assistant at UTS Careers. She is passionate about telling stories, both hers and others’, and the way digital and social media is changing the literary landscape. Her writing has appeared in Voiceworks, The Brag, and elsewhere.