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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Productivity, Running a Business | 0 comments

How Laziness Can Help You as a Freelancer

Laziness Doesn’t Have to Be Bad

She may be lazy, but she's also being more productive than you

She may be lazy, but she's also being more productive than you

“Lazy” is probably one of the last words a typical freelancer might use to describe him or herself. Indeed, it’s unlikely you’ll be successful as a freelancer if laziness is your motto. However, laziness isn’t all bad. In fact, laziness – if used properly – can lead to higher efficiency, better productivity, more free time, and less overall frustration.

Work Smart, Not Hard

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “work smart, not hard”. This is a key idea. People who are lazy generally want results by doing as little work as possible. Unfortunately, laziness often leads to poorer quality work, however this does not have to be the case. Laziness can be a great motivation to do less work in less time while still accomplishing the same results.

Stop Being Unproductive, Allow Laziness to Motivate You

I find myself being lazy most often when I’m being the least productive. For instance, I might be trying to fix a stupid little bug in HTML, CSS, or JavaScript due to browser incompatibilities/inconsistencies (screw you, Internet Explorer). I might spend an hour and not accomplish anything, being inefficient, unproductive, and leaving me frustrated. This is the worst case scenario for the lazy freelancer.

Delegate, Outsource, Subcontract

Now, whenever I anticipate a bug like this or other task that I dread, I’m lazy and instead, I delegate or outsource the bug fixing or whatever task to someone who can do it better and/or faster than I can. (I highly recommend for this purpose.) Yes, it costs me money to do this, but I can use the time I’ve saved to make up for it by working on another project or task. It’s really just common sense; do what you’re good at and subcontract what you’re not good at. I find that laziness is one of the biggest motivators for improving efficiency and productivity and eliminating frustration.

Make It Easy for Yourself: Streamline Your Workflows

Laziness can help in other ways too. The key is to make things as easy as possible for yourself. If you find yourself doing anything repetitive in your work, think of ways to speed up the process or workflow. For example, whenever I used to begin a new website project, I found myself writing similar code for templates over and over again, so I decided to build a basic HTML + CSS template (framework) upon which I base the websites for my clients; this template was flexible enough to be used with almost any design I created. (By the way, you don’t need to create these frameworks from scratch like I did. There are some very good free, pre-made HTML and CSS frameworks such as 960 Grid System and Blueprint.) Now my web design & development workflow has been streamlined and I can be much “lazier” and still get the same results that I got before I created a basic template/framework.

Be Aware of Your Work Habits

I’m constantly aware of how productive I’m being. I feel great when I’m working on a task that is familiar and that I’ve streamlined so that it’s second nature, and I’m frustrated when I find myself not getting anywhere on a particular problem. Laziness has driven me to prioritize tasks so I do all the “easy” things first and the “hard” things last. Additionally, I find myself outsourcing (subcontracting) more and more of the “hard” things at the beginning of a project so that while I’m checking off the easy tasks (those which I’ve turned into an art or a science), someone else is checking off the frustrating, time-consuming tasks that I would otherwise be dreading and wasting time on. Simply realizing the inefficiencies in your workflows can help you dramatically improve productivity and, in effect, allow you to be a lazy and successful freelancer.

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