Read any motivational book or blog post about accomplishing anything in business or in life and there is probably an underlying assumption that everyone wants to be lively and progressive. Sweet memes are made of this. Is this an unrealistic picture of the people we have become? When there are a gazillion daily temptations toward diversion and recreation we may be seeing a clue that there is a hidden part of us that craves something other than business and busy-ness. Are we basically creatures of laziness looking for an escape? We have evolved our culture into one that looks for the easy way to do things and the tools of innovation are often technological gimmicks that pledge to make our lives easier… and allow us to lapse into comfortable, relaxing, and eternal lethargy.
Are there rules for getting rid of this demon? There probably isn’t a cure for lethargic leanings because it is so personal in nature. For some, when the pendulum swings too far in the other direction we go about everything with such a frenetic energy that it has the same result – accomplishing nothing. The rule for something that has no rule is to apply logic and common sense per the reality of each situation. Some examples are:
- People Management – The easy way is to lump everybody of a certain age group, gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation into comfortable buckets where thinking is not required. It’s more work to think of individual needs than the stereotypes associated with a group. Taking the time to listen and consider the needs of the individual highlights the better way of escaping from the lazy way out: time management. If we budget our available time to handle important things like listening and hearing it would be easier to deal with distractions that would take us down the lazy path.
- Hiring Management – The easy way is to consider it a mechanical process that always follows a set of neatly prescribed rules. Recruitment by robotically inclined people will ultimately give way to a process that is totally dehumanized and managed by robots. Nobody is well served by this solution. Realizing that this is a specialized subset of people management is the key to unlocking access to the talent marketplace: relationship management. Influencing people by building relationships instead of processes ultimately makes it happen without the negative impact of conflict generated by do-nothing laziness.
- Career Management – The easy way is to avoid possible rejection and failure by retreating to the comfort of a keyboard and computer screen for information and application. The eagerness to apply technology to solve an immediate need can result in missing the human aspect of a career which is to forge a personal destiny among other persons. Computers don’t hire people. This is the flip side of hiring management because it is working with others to get results: partnership management. Nobody must do it alone and disregard the totality of the effort makes being lazy look attractive.
Managing the various aspects of a complex life means two things: making choices and assigning priorities. First, we need to decide what is important and then we must set about doing it. Are human beings by nature lazy? The answer to that question is totally irrelevant! Being productive is a choice; so is being lazy.
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