Solving a problem? Be Lazy

Hard work is admirable and usually pays off. However, when you face a tough challenge, a little bit of laziness can be very useful.

No, I’m not advocating half-baked work and being irresponsible. Rather I’d like to point out a great way to make solving problems easier.

When you are faced with a tough challenge, it’s often a good idea to make your job a little bit more simple. Rephrase you challenge. Rephrase it, but make it much much easier to tackle. Instead of the needed 20% increase in sales, figure out ways to increase sales with a measly 1 per cent. Instead of looking for ways to get 1,000 extra visitors to your event, figure out how to get two extra people attending. Instead of figuring out how you can cut back 50,000 euros in expenses, fantasise about ways to spend 10 euros less. In other words; make your challenge ridiculously easy.

Small goals are manageable
This might seem like cheating and ignoring the real problem. It’s not. Making your challenge less imposing like this is actually a smart way of addressing your problem. A big challenge can be paralysing. Thinking about insignificant little challenges is much less intimidating. Tiny goals are manageable.

Power in numbers
You will quickly and effortlessly generate tens or hundreds of feasible ideas to get the little result needed. It’s not hard to come up with a plan to get one extra visitor, or a few extra euros in sales. This might seem like a drop in the ocean, but all these small-impact ideas combined can make a serious difference. And usually these ‘little ideas’ are cheap and easy to implement (often immediately).

Scale up
Then there is another benefit of freely generating ideas to reach a small goal; some of the tiny solutions you come up with will have very interesting concepts. They might work equally well on a larger scale. At the very least they will inspire you to pursue a new way of tackling your actual ‘large’ problem. Always ask yourself; “what’s the idea behind this plan?” Why will it work? Can you use this insight to make a bigger impact as well?

So don’t let large challenges intimidate you. Break them up or scale them down to bite sized mini-challenges and freely fantasise about how you might reach these mini-goals. Generate lots of ideas. Once you’ve collected a bunch, see which ones you can use. Either next to each other or combined in a more comprehensive approach.

You’d be surprised to learn how effective a little laziness can be when solving a problem…



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