The Lazy Work Twice As Hard – A Prime Example

by Hank Coleman

I had a teacher in high school that used to always say, “The lazy work twice as hard.”  I never really agave the saying much thought when I was younger, but years later I see its application in my life more and more.

How many of us try to shoot baskets with paper into the trash can and miss horribly only to have to walk over to the trash can?  Wouldn’t it have been easier and less time consuming if we had just walked over there and thrown our trash away the right way to start with?  Everyone has put things off until the last minute only to be rushed in the end.  Looking back, I am always blown away by how many important tasks I wait until the very last minute to complete just because I like to procrastinate.  I guarantee those projects are not my best efforts either. 

lazy-grass-mowerThe lazy work twice as hard as you would have worked if you had just done the task correctly the first time without procrastinating or cutting corners.  The picture here is a prime example from my everyday life.  This is a picture of a portion of my backyard.  I usually wait weeks in between mowing the lawn.  The grass gets so high (as you can see in the picture) that it takes me several hours to finish the task when it would normally take me one hour.  The high grass always suffocates my lawnmower, and I have to restart it several times wasting precious cutting speed and time.

The same things can be said about our finances as well.  The lazy work twice as hard with money too.  How many of us are waiting to invest or save until we can afford it?  I remember asking my mother growing up if she invested in stocks, and she told me (decades ago) that she couldn’t afford it.  Looking back, you cannot afford not to invest for your retirement and other financial goals.  It is a lot like a family waiting to have a baby when they can afford one.  If you waited until you could afford a child, you would never have kids.  For example, if you delay investing in the first four years of your career after you graduated from college, you will only accumulate $1.2 million in a Roth IRA (assuming 8% annual return and a $5,000 yearly investment).  But, if you had been investing from your first day at work, you would have earned $1.6 million.  By delaying investing by four years, you could possibly lose $400,000 in earnings.  See the details of the calculations here at “Delaying Investing For Retirement Can Cost You Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars“.

How many of us have also been putting off getting a will or setting up a trust to protect our families should we die?  BudgetsAreSexy recently provided a great post and a link to Suzie Orman’s website which is giving away a free Will and Trust kit.  FiLife, the personal finance portal, also had a great article this past week on procrastinating and its affects on our money.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Milena Thomas October 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm

I agree with this premise. When I slow down, it seems time does as well. I can focus better doing one task at a time, and the work is of a much higher quality. I also don’t feel so frazzled.

However, I think labeling it “lazy” is part of what gives me anxiety to speed up! Maybe we should come up with a new word, since being “lazy” has negative connotations, and doesn’t quite describe what one is doing when they take their time at a task. Perhaps “deliberate” or “focused?”

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