Laziness gets a bad rep, but there are benefits in doing things the easy way.
Why waste a ton of time on a task if there's a quicker way to do it? Freeing yourself from simpler assignments gives you extra time to get more important work done, or maybe even to give yourself a break.
Bill Gates once said that he always hires lazy people to do the most important jobs. His reasoning, as he put it: "Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it." We can't help but to agree with his logic.
Redditor u/Slimer425 asked "What is the best real life example of a lazy person getting the job done", and people shared some creative and low effort solutions.
"They sat me down..."
"I once was a temp at a tiny office on a construction site in around 2003. I was only there for one day while the regular person was on some training.
They sat me down and told me that I just needed to copy all these numbers from one program to another. So I selected them, hit ctrl c and ctrl v. They stared at me.
Turns out about 60% of this woman's time had been spent manually typing numbers from one place to another."
"He would give me a spreadsheet..."Giphy
"Boss hated Excel to the point where he didn't want us using formulas because 'you can't trust them to be right' so we needed to 'do all the calculations by hand or on a calculator'
He would give me a spreadsheet once or twice a week that required lets say, 45 seconds to do, but maybe 7 hours by hand and he told me to 'go to starbucks or something and crank it out'
He thought that since I pasted as values and he couldn't see the formulas that I did it by hand when really I just did it in 45 seconds, sent an email on delay for 7 hours, and studied for the next semester."
"He took off one day..."
"Co-worker of mine had to get rid of a smaller junk fiberglass boat with no trailer. Our other co-workers are all telling him how much time and money he's going to need to spend to get rid of it, and he's just saying 'Oh, is that so?'
He took off one day, and sat down on his lawn with a cooler of beer. That day was garbage day. Inevitably, the trash guys roll up. He hands each of them a cold beer, and says 'Hey boys, got $50 for each of you if you help me out real quick.'
They fed the entire 12ft boat into the packer, crushing two feet at a time."
"I used to deliver beer..."
"I used to deliver beer. I did not like delivering beer. I may have ended up with 30 stops in a day, including deliveries that the customer would call in to our office for. I used to bring extra beer and blank invoices with me on the truck, to prevent having to drive back to my warehouse to deliver one keg to a place that I was currently across the street from. 7 years later, the driver of that route is still doing that."
"In high school..."
"In high school we had to do four book reports every year. A friend of mine did his on each Lord of the Rings books and the Hobbit freshman year and turned in the same four book reports for the rest of his time in high school. You switched english teachers every year so no one ever caught on. I was never brave enough to try the same thing."
"Counting washers and screws..."
"At my last job, a truck suspension shop, we did inventory every December and it was someone's job to count all the washers and screws of every size.
It was my first inventory and I casually mentioned that they should just weigh one screw or washer, then weigh them all and divide the weight to get the count. Everyone looked at me like I had given them the key to the universe.
Counting washers and screws went from a day or two, to just a few hours."
"I was lazy..."
"Worked as a cashier during the holiday season back when I was 16. The supermarket was selling drinks by the boxes and at that time, we only had barcode scanners that was at the front of the computer. No gun type scanners existed.
I was lazy and didn't want to carry boxes up to the scanner. So I politely asked my customers if i could carve out the barcode from their box to scan and keep. Some agreed some didn't want to but eventually I managed to amass all the barcodes needed. Labelled them and kept them in a file for easy reference."
"They run from it..."Giphy
"Herding yak with a drone takes the cake for me. They run from it, and oddly fear it. Which is surprising considering they have literally zero aerial predators. We only did it a few times because it really makes them uneasy, and doesn't treat them well. But it is very effective and easy, and you can herd them from over 1/2 a mile a way from inside the house."
"During my intern..."
"My professor gave me line graphs made on paper and asked me to find the coordinates by drawing horizontal and vertical lines. It would have taken hours if not days.
I thought to myself - 'I couldn't be the first one who is lazy'. So I googled it, found this cool free to use software 'Web Digitizer'.
Step 1 - Scan the graph.
Step 2 - Mark the X and Y axes in the picture.
Step 3 - Grab a beer cause you got the the nicest graph that you couldn't have drawn by yourself in a million years."
"I feel like a big part..."
"I work in finance at a large multinational corporation. I feel like a big part of our job is to just stop doing things and wait to see who complains. If someone complains, we keep doing it, if silence, then we call it a 'controlled drop' and put it on our performance review for creating efficiencies."
"Long story short..."
I worked in a CNC shop.
There would be a pile of jobs that needed to be done for the month.
Some took days to run while others were generally quick.
The record for jobs done in 1 day was 8.
What I did was looked through all the jobs and organized them by setup.
Every job has a setup time. Can take an hour to get all the tooling together, setting up the cutting table, and setting the part square to the table so the machine can "gauge" where the part is so when I insert the code into the machine it can run flawlessly and drill, mill, tap whatever within a literally hair measurement. For every single job.
Majority of parts use standard tooling. And I have automatic tool changing with 20 pockets.
Long story short I figured out how to line up the jobs so they all have the same setup.
Blew the record out of the water with 30 jobs done in one day.
Saving the company tens of thousands in work hours.
All because I didnt feel like doing all the setups that day.
"Unlike most of the stories here..."
I used to work in the fresh department for a supermarket. Part of our routine is writing-off any vegetables, fruits or meat that had spoiled. We do this by using PDA with a built-in barcode scanner, so we scan the barcode on the packaging, and enter a quantity.
The problem is that half the items are in measured in 'kilogram' (the other unit is 'each', these have their own barcodes). These don't have their own barcodes that can easily be scanned, we had to find the ID number from a list of every single item in the database, sorted by ID number, and manually enter it into the PDA.
I, being the lazy guy, decided to make a excel sheet with only items with 'KG' as the unit, sorted them by type (apples, oranges, etc.), and downloaded a plugin that renders the barcode on a separate column, and printed it. Easily cut the time taken to write-off by a significant amount.
Unlike most of the stories here, it was actually well-received by my co-workers, also because I added in translations to our mother tongue, as well as pictures for items we had difficulty telling the difference.
"A week or so later..."
My uncle worked as an industrial engineer at a Breakfast Cereal Manufacturer. They started getting complaints because boxes were going out to stores empty. The brainstormed and created a scale under the conveyor belt right before final packing, which would beep if the box was underweight (indicating an empty box). The operator would remove the empty box and continue the conveyor belt.
A week or so later they saw that the data for the empty boxes completely dropped off, and they were confused how this empty box issue seemed to fix itself. Upon going down to the line, the line operator had a new high-powered fan up next to the line. The engineers asked him about it, and he said that the beeping was driving him up the wall so he rigged a fan which would blow the empty boxes off and not effect the full boxes.
"Took Spanish 2 in high school..."
Took Spanish 2 in high school using Duolingo, each lesson has been set out to only unlock at a certain date so it would open a lesson every few days or so. My friend and I in the class went through our class the normal route for about a month until we discovered something amazing. If we scrolled all the way to the bottom it would have a button saying "test all skills now." We both complete the test and when we finish it says "all 182 skills complete". My friend and I just looked at each other for a moment and started laughing with our teacher confused. Never had any homework and very little class work for the rest of the year.
"The place I worked..."
Stacking roof trusses. At the place I worked, they just rolled off of rollers from inside onto the ground and we had to stack and strap em.
This Punjabi guy shows me a trick, grabs a 2x4 says 'first you grab this lumber then place it here" and props it with a gentle slope to the ground. Grabs the tail of the truss (where your gutters would be) and just swings it down the 2x4 into position and stacks the remaining 12 like that.
Baboo you genius.
Guy couldn't understand English. Asked him for help.. he said yes yes.. and nodded his head and walked away.... came back with an interpreter cuz he had no clue what I asked him.
"Me and my dad..."
Me and my dad putting on something to hold a spare tire for a trailer and I couldn't get the tire on the bolts, so my dad made me sit there and think of a solution.
"There were weeds..."
There were weeds growing in my back yard and my dad told me to take them out with a shovel but in about 5 minutes in I found a branch cutter and simply cut all the roots with that.
"All the problems were online..."
Took a quantitative reasoning class. All the problems were online and there was this one type of question that had a massive amount of variables that you have to put through three different formulas for a complete average, even with a calculator it took a solid 15 minutes and I had to make sure that I'd rounded all the numbers correctly because it didn't specify what point to round them to. Literally just made an Excel calculator and copied the results for each problem.
My teacher gave me the quiz and I was first to finish and because the question was too hard to me I simply wrote "impossible" and hoped I would be right cause I'm lazy AF and lucky me that was the answer.
I had to type out 5 A4 pages of random letters/words to practice typing on a keyboard. Instead, I scanned the papers, turned the scan into a pdf on a random site I found, pasted it into word and made a few corrections, typed in my name and voila 2 hours of work done in 5 minutes
"My sister cracked the TV..."
My sister cracked the TV and there was a visible mark on the edges where no tv was shown, so I told her to fix it and she literally put black electrical tape and my parents haven't noticed it yet. It's been 6 years.
"I, being lazy..."
I, being lazy and having an interest in video production and coding, was given a task where I needed to edit a short film. I hate working with audio, and small spoiler, whenever the protagonist takes a punch, there is a sound for that. Walking, sound for that. So guess what lazy little me did. With the help of three online friends, I coded something that would detect whenever a certain event happened and where. Phone drops on hardwood, phonehardwoodfall.m4a. Phone gets set down on table, phonesetdown.mp3. That was probably the hardest I've worked for a film. Not very lol.
"The next time we got to work..."
This was something that happened to my coworker and I. We were receptionists for a large company, and one day our supervisor gave us the job to print out names and addresses onto stickers so we can place them on envelopes that would be for Christmas cards.
We were doing this for our company and subsidiaries and it had many names. She had a list printed out and we needed to write up the names in the Word so we could save them there then put them into the format for the stickers.
I know/knew about ctrl-c/ctrl-z but for some reason it was not working the way we wanted by putting each one into individual slots. So we spent a painstaking 2-3 days of writing into word then copy and pasting each address into each slot. A few weeks after this our supervisor brings up a Microsoft workshop that we could take and asked if we were interested in and we both accepted.
While there the presenter shows us a simpler way to do exactly what we spent 3 days doing. I can't remember the process now but it was copy and paste and did exactly what we had wanted. I know we missed a step somewhere in there but the 3 days spent probably would have taken the rest of today. The next time we got to work we told our supervisor about what the presenter showed us, and she goes I know about it but it was funny watching you two.
(I want to add all three of us were close had a lot of fun and really enjoyed each other's company. When our supervisor revealed this my coworker and I just laughed with her and thought it was hilarious).
"I ended up..."
I was put on gate guard detail a while back and it was one of those old swing gates from the 60's so everytime a car came up with proper credentials I had to get up, open the gate and let them through. I ended up being so pissed off the third day of heavy snow and tied 45 feet of paracord to the tip of the gate and put a spring on the pole so it would automatically close and open when I pulled the line. I did this for about a month and a half until sergeant major and the lieutenant colonel came to randomly visit and needless to say sgtmajor was disappointed at my invention.
"Had to compare trades..."
I worked in investment banking. Had to compare trades that were booked in an internal system to the trades that actually settled in the market. These were European equities and we were in the US. The person doing this would show up at 6:30am and manually match the trades until 11am. I realized you could export everything to excel and do the same comparison using a vlookup. The whole process went from 4 hours to about 1. Funny thing is instead of acknowledging the change everyone just thought I was lazy because I was showing up to work later than the last person.
"The rest of my group..."
When I was in 4th grade, I was in a group project that was supposed to teach us about elections. We had to elect candy instead of presidents. I was forced to be part of a skittles campaign management. I didn't like skittles at the time so I was unhappy from the start. The rest of my group just didn't want to work so they laid the work down upon me. I simply told the teacher, "in a democracy, don't we get to chose who we vote for?" My teacher at the time was cool AF and very preserving of American democracy, excused my of the assignment and gave me an A+.
I love being a smart @ss.
"After a month..."
At my last job I was asked to take over disability and medicaid case rep duties when the other girl quit. After a month I had it streamlined like my other case rep stuff and instead of taking all day to get everything done it took me on average 3 hours. I organized and went in order instead of jumping around.
I had everything organized and up to date and I had all signatures on file for easy access. A year later they tell me they are taking my job and giving it to another lady that used to work those accounts. I was so mad because she had screwed up the accounts before the last girl and we both had to take months cleaning up her mess.
She bounces around everywhere and doesn't keep stuff updated. I always made my calls before 2 because that us when DHS was in office and I could get answers and I always called SSA before 10 because you could get through easier. She calls everyone after 2 and never gets a response.
I tried to speak up and help but she was hateful and a bully so I quit back in November and haven't looked back. I told my boss when she screws up everything again please remember I said she would. When she left several years ago and I had to clean up her mess the 1st time I found over 5 million dollars for just 1 hospital that she almost lost and I guarantee she lost millions that we could never get back for 8 hospitals.
"I did three, almost fell off..."
30 years ago I worked housing construction as an apprentice and I got all the sh!t jobs. The worst they ever gave me was to get and entire pallet (like 50 bundles) of asphalt shingles up onto a roof in August. Each bag weighed 110 pounds and you had to throw it on your shoulder and carry them up one at a time.
I did three, almost fell off, and then immediately realized I could use a collapsed extension ladder clamped to an extended one to serve as a sled to get three or four bags up at one time. It wasn't fancy - you still had to pull the ropes manually, but with one additional pulley in the mix you didn't have to work very hard to get them up there. Worked similar to a ladder hoist now:
But if they were even made back then, the company was too cheap to purchase one. They gave me a neighborhood of 13 houses to get the shingles up and gave me two weeks to do it. I did it in a day and a half.
Boss found out what I was doing, watched me for a bit, then said "S***, you one of those guys that's gonna quit, ain't ya?"
"I grew up in a small town..."
I grew up in a small town with a lot of old people around. My Dad became friends with this guy through work. This guy wrote a lot of really long articles. One day my dad visited and stood behind him when he was writing - he had everything in one long word document, apparently he didn't know or understood that you could have multiple documents. Every time he had to find an old article he said there scrolling for ages until he found it. My dad couldn't get himself to tell him.
"I once was timed..."
I once was timed to run a short distance (loop around a swing set) with my sister and I was super confident that I would win (and I would eternally hate myself if I lost) because I was not going to run the full distance, I was going to only run halfway, and I won, but then my sister copied me and the same thing happened like 4 times.
"I'm a computer teacher..."
I'm a computer teacher at 2 schools part-time. One principal keeps giving me strange tasks that would be time consuming if done by anyone else in the school, since I'm pretty sure I'm the youngest (also a millennial). I'm convinced most would do the tasks line by line.
Anyway, one of the first tasks I'm given is, "How can I put this 1900+ page document of emails into an email list?" Backstory: the list was given to her by an alumni politician who had slowly accumulated all these emails from campaign donors over many years, and his secretary just added each email to the bottom of the document.
I look at the list, each email is written on a new line, without commas, so I know it can't just be copy/pasted. Takes me about 10 minutes to ctrl+F email endings and replace with a comma and space at the end so they COULD be copy/pasted to be sent. Well over 81,000 emails. Imagine doing that by hand (DX).
Second task: here's a spreadsheet of 600+ form entries of alumni addresses we want to put on labels. Me: Googled a formula to automatically generate the info as an address label, uses math to calculate the size of the labels and spaces between boxes so that it could just be printed. (Yes I know I could have used a template from the websites, you can't do that offline like I can with Google sheets.)
Anyway, trimester ends, and I have a broken left hand and 360+ students to write report card comments for. I end up using the same formula from the address project to automatically generate comments with drop down options (did all their work/missing assignment and can/ cannot use skills independently). All I had to do was copy/paste my class roster, add pronouns, and maybe an additional comment and BAM. Done in a few hours instead of days/having to edit voice-typed comments.
"It cut the install time..."
I was an intern testing software. We were required to do black box testing and thus could only test a fully built CD by management decree. The developers would make a change and publish a new ISO to the server, we would then burn it and install it. Not only did this generate dozens of CDs per day it took 25 minutes to burn then install the software and and you needed to be present ever few minutes to get disks, label them, burn them in the multi disc writer, collect them, and start the install.
I showed everyone how to mount the ISO over the network so we could avoid burning an actual CD unless we were testing a beta or release candidate.
It cut the install time down to 6 unattended minutes (as the network was faster than even reading the disc).
"I remember working for this assembly company..."
I remember working for this assembly company for the lottery, they had given us some menial work that was meant to take a month. They were having us cut rows of stickers so each type of sticker was on its own row using stickers.
Normally we assemble circuit panels with different components and bracketry, so we have all these sub assembly parts in neat organized bins. I grow tired of using these scissors after about 10 minutes and just screw together some brackets and fasten an exacto blade in the center, using zip ties as a track i just put the sticker roll in one end pull it through and just zip it through.
I had done the entire months work for 14 people in 3 days. The manger congratulated me on finishing all the work so efficiently, then told me there was nothing else to do for us and laid us all off until we had more work. I never felt a heavy group deathstare before, but could definitely feel some kill intent energy for sure.
TBH I'd rather get laid off and collect than for some menial mind numbing nonsense like that.
"Easiest money ever made..."
Hired someone else to do the job I was hired to do at 1/10th the cost.
Easiest money ever made and client was super happy. Gave me a bonus of 20% which I passed on to my employee as he was a good dude.
"I am pathologically incapable..."
I am pathologically incapable of doing things the long-winded way. I'd rather spend 2 weeks automating something than do it the wrong way twice. Probably why I'm studying data science now.
I used to work in a company that produced market research reports. It was the financial crash and no one in my department could find a job and we were all overqualified with degrees for a job that didn't need it. The company had 24k employees and I worked in the reporting department and it was a real entry-level job. We used an in-house database which we ran some excel VBA commands on and it produced a report.
We were 'supposed' to have 2 insanely busy reporting weeks and then we were supposed to spend the rest of the month doing other bits. Meetings, checking reports, streamlining processes. I used to run the reports I had manually until the higher-ups decided to change the database I used on 2 days notice and I had to rewrite every single report over a weekend. Was about 100 reports, so no chance at all.
So the client services had to run them manually for a few months. It took me 12 months in all to rewrite all the reports which over the years had been edited by idiots and nothing had been done in the right way. Instead of replicating them I decided to automate them. I automated it to such a degree that when the week started I clicked 3 things and just sat there while it ran. My work for the month was done in 3h.
I once took 5 breaks before 10.30; I had so little work to do. When my boss realised she gave me a look that said 'You're trying to get out of work aren't you?' In that situation, I would have asked to automate other people's work for them. Middle managers always seem to be most afraid of putting themselves out of a job it seems.
I ended up leaving that company when my department got the lowest employee happiness rating in the entire company (24%) and my bosses came in and told us off, rather than asking how they could improve things. They hired 1 guy who had never used a computer until he came there and constantly had to ask how to do things, and he was on the same money as people who had master's degrees in network engineering.
"One of my favorite teachers..."
One of my favorite teachers of all time was my freshman chemistry teacher. I, however, did not like school and never once did my work or my notes that were checked before every test. One day, I didn't want to lose the points, so I took the first person's notes he checked - I made sure I was the last - and had him gloss over them again for full credit. Basically, I gave him the same thing twice and got away with it.
"I am an idiot."
Over the summer I wanted to get some money so I worked at this agency that required me to take in information, copy it, paste it, add a calculation in excel, copy and paste it and email out the results in a nice format to clients. This was a mindless task and as a programmer it was disgusting that they needed an intern to do this.
On my first day while nobody was looking I went on replit and stackoverflow and programmed an automated patch. I was so excited it worked and proud I told the boss what I did and how it works and how I made it really dynamic and such, he was astonished and very impressed and told me that, that was the only assignment he had for me over the summer and said that my services were no longer needed. He said I wouldn't need to come in anymore after that.
I programmed myself out of a job. I am an idiot.
"I used to work..."
I used to work as a hotel night auditor in the 1980s. The manager designed a six-hour audit to keep us busy. I brought in a programmable calculator, and used it to get the audit down to under two hours.
"Over the years, I've compiled..."
College at the end of the semester, everyone wants an A. If you're teaching 700 students, you end up receiving lots of excuses for missed assignments, grade bumps, etc. - in the last 48 hours of the semester.
Over the years, I've compiled a document of excuses from students, like "my grandma died" or "I can't get disability accommodations" - etc. I've typed up a thoughtful, detailed response to each of those concerns, also saved in the file.
When those inevitable emails come, I just Ctrl+F to find the excuse, and then copy/paste my template response. I don't have time to tell thirty students the same thing, much less communicate an individually tailored response in classes with 50+ students. I even leave a spot for an individual comment, if needed. The point is for the recipient to know I received their message, I understand their concern, restate it in a way that demonstrates I understand, offer a solution, my condolences, and a happy face or whatever suits the situation. And, I can reply to sad emails more quickly, letting students have efficiency in finding resolution for their issues.