“Something that matters more is coming up, let’s just get it over with!”
“This has gone on too long! Let’s just get it over with.”
“I don’t want to do this. Let’s just get it over with.”
It is a tendency most of us share when dealing with things we don’t really want to do. We take shortcuts, making the work short and cutting corners, and ultimately turn in a work that’s not the quality we would ever be proud about. The consequences always follow an action and this lazy piece of work often leads to situations where we wish we had just cared a little bit more or did things a bit better. Sometimes, we might just get away with things of poor quality but that’s not a fair expectation to hold for ourselves. Because here’s the thing: When being evaluated/reviewed, we are only as good as our worst piece of work.
Welcome to Narrating The Dream and this post is about facing the limitation that is most likely to stop us from being great.
If you want something done quickly, hire the laziest people to do it.
Frank Gilberto Sr.
The words have been attributed to different personalities over the years but the meaning they try to present has not changed. While going the lazy route does sound good for faster work, at no point does it say that you need to just accept that work as it is. There are things like quality control and work reviews that need to be done to make sure that the product is actually usable. But since it is (also) attributed to Bill Gates – a person who is one of the symbols of successful people – most people don’t really bother to think things through.
So what am I trying to say here? Am I saying that we should all slave away doing hard work when we can just be done with smart work? Most definitely no because there are little things called deadlines that are a complete PIA. Plus the perverse pleasure superiors get in throwing the subordinates to the huge work loads often means we need to be the best (and fastest) versions of us. (And I hope they do, otherwise why would someone do that?) That’s not necessarily a bad thing considering that it might help you stay a step ahead in the competitive world.
So then what? I say we shouldn’t slave away over things that can be done quickly and that we shouldn’t turn in pieces of work that are less than satisfactory per our own standards (Beware the loop of never being satisfied enough!). Don’t you see it too? There is a small space there where we can get through and just be.
What I am trying to imply is that maybe there is a way to do smart work after some hard work. Slave away for some time over a plan of action, plot out your steps and then get it reviewed by someone who knows this stuff. Get the criticism done with right now before you start because there will be less things you miss. And then… Just find the laziest way to do it! I am pretty sure you just cut through several iterations that you would have had to do if you didn’t ask for clarification beforehand. It’s not the fastest piece of work but it’s probably not the terrible first draft that you would rather not have any eyes fall upon ever.
To be honest, I have to adopt this yet too. Going over iterations of work, just because I didn’t get my ideas reviewed by the right folks, is so annoying that it is beyond tempting to just be done with it – even if it means putting in a work that’s less than acceptable.
On the last comment though, I would repeat a previously stated note. The vision we have of the work we’ll be submitting is probably not the one we come up with. It’s not the one that will make you famous among your peers and make you an inspiration for others to try to imitate (and be jealous of). Even after going several iterations, we might not be able to get to that level. And that’s okay. Maybe it really is terrible or maybe it is worth of being put into a hall of fame but what’s the most important truth is that you won’t know. You have seen it from the start and you can’t see if it really is better since you have been focusing on its weak points for so long. There will always be some points of dissatisfaction. Just get it reviewed by a critic/superior and get another perspective. And then, hopefully you’ll know what else is needed.