Now that I have got your attention, please don’t panic or be surprised. I know the title of this post is quite unlike me, considering that many (if not most) of those who know me think of me as a workaholic. So let me get straight to the point.
I do love my job, quite a lot. It is just the “work” part of it that I don’t have a taste for. now this does not mean that I like to just sit on my butt and get paid for it, however rosy it may sound. For me, “work” is any needless effort or resources that you spend towards achieving any goal. If you are not doing something in the most optimum way possible, you are “working” towards it, and all those efforts that you are putting into it, are nothing but a waste. Stop right there and see if you could do those in a better manner. No matter how experienced or skilled we are, we can always do something better than how we are doing it presently. Just give it a shot, and you will be amazed by the results.
What would perhaps be the foremost quality towards achieving a higher level of efficiency? If you ask me, the simple answer is “laziness”. Yes, contradictory as it sounds, you cannot be efficient if you are not lazy. Again, I have an offbeat definition of laziness. For me, laziness is the quality of refusing to put in more than the minimum amount of efforts required, and yet achieving the desired goal. I started off my IT career as a programmer, and I have always believed that the best of programmers are usually the lazy ones. By a lazy programmer, I mean someone who does not want to do the same job again and hence, puts in his best the first time itself that he does not have to really look back and wonder if he could have done it better. Secondly, if something can be automated, preferably to the extent of “Fill it, shut it, forget it”, a lazy programmer will always prefer to do it that way, thereby leaving himself free for higher pursuits.
What applies to programming, also applies to life. How many of us spend our lives doing things that could be done more efficiently, or even better done by someone else? Quite a lot, I can bet. What really prevents us from making this happen is a misplaced sense of identity. We identify ourselves with our work/job, whereas what we should be really focusing on its outcome, the difference that our being good at what we do makes to the world at large. Once we realise that, it also becomes apparent that if we get better at what we do, we are going to make a greater, better difference to the world. I would go a bit further and say that it is our duty to make sure that this happens. Simply put, the moment you start getting rid of what is unnecessarily taking up your time, you free yourself up for what you should be spending your time on. What this means in your job can vary wildly. For a programmer, this could mean writing error-free code (well, as error-free as possible) or automating routine tasks. For a writer, this could mean better organisation of his work routine, so that s/he can spend more time on creative pursuits and less on clerical stuff. The bottom line is really simple – more work DOES NOT mean more productivity. It simply means more wasted effort. I believe that what we achieve should last for a long time, but we should not spend a large amount of time doing it. We are not going to be around for ages, so why spend time doing something that won’t last beyond our lives?
This also gives rise to a thought – what is the higher purpose of life then? Well, that is a topic for another post. For now, I will only say this – HATE work, but love what you do. 🙂