By Kanika Sharma, inspired by The Lazy Project Manager (Infinite Ideas 2009) by Peter Taylor – see more information at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com
A manager can make or break a project. Their efficiency and proactivity can take a project to amazing heights. While on the other hand, their ignorance and sluggishness can be the biggest reason behind a project failure.
For those who consider themselves somewhat lazy when it comes to project management, there is good news for you. Have you ever heard about productive laziness? With some simple yet effective techniques, you can stay comfy in your chair while successfully achieving project goals. Always remember the words of Robert Heinlein: “Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”
Here are five ways to be productively lazy.
1. Start with the 80-20 Rule
The Pareto Principle comes as a boon for lethargic managers. The way this principle works is that the majority of the results for every situation are derived by a small number of causes – i.e. 80% of results are derived by 20% of the causes. For instance, the majority of sales in a company are due to a small number of customers and not the masses. So rather than putting your time and energy on each and every customer, try to figure out and focus on the 20% most profitable because that is what really matters.
2. Delegate the Smart Way
Delegation is an art, and if you wish to master this art, then you need to put your brains behind it. First, you’d need to be very clear and precise about what has to be done. Tasks should be individually defined along with their respective goals. Then comes the authorization part; since you’ve delegated tasks to your team members, it is important to delegate the necessary authority as well. Give them the organizational power and resources required to complete their jobs. Once done, the next step is to check on the progress of the tasks without micromanaging; you just need to see if they are on the right track according to the end objectives.
A crucial consideration for delegation is choosing the right individuals for different tasks. Tap into your team’s unique skills, analyze their expertise and don’t assign tasks randomly. Additionally, appreciating and rewarding your employees for their hard work will keep them motivated in the future.
3. Automate Your Workflow
Tools and technologies were truly invented for the the lazy among us because they eliminate much of the effort and hassle that one has to face otherwise. Advanced online software for work management can simplify things to a great extent — data can be accessed, updated and shared in real time. The added advantage is that while you’re not in the office, you can get project updates by using a project management app through your mobile device. This will lead to less errors and more efficiency.
4. Plan Ahead
There’s a well known saying by Hans Glint, a famous life planner: “The sooner you start planning your life, the sooner you will start living the life you dream of.” In my opinion, this quote fits perfectly with the modern workplace scenarios. While working for projects, it is better to plan ahead so that everything keeps flowing smoothly. Team members know what has to be accomplished and you can check if things are progressing as planned.
5. Do a Few Things Well
No matter what you do on a given day, make sure you put your heart and soul into it. The best way to accomplish this is to strike the iron while it is hot. You just need to figure out your peak productivity hours — the time when your concentration level is high. Some people like to work early while others are night owls. Try to get things done during this time, because you’ll be able to focus more and achieve more.
These steps for smart laziness into your day-to-day work routine will let you take pleasure in the world of laziness without compromising your productivity at work.