One thing’s for sure: I hate work. But we all have to be productive from time to time (or we’ll end up living in our parents’ basements till we’re 45). These are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years that constantly save me ample amounts of time, and I think it’s hilarious when I see other people wasting their time using the traditional approach.
Stop ironing your clothes.
If you’re like me, buying “wrinkle-free” pants and shirts doesn’t really do any good when you let them sit in the dryer or in a basket for a week before you wear them. And going to work looking like a slob unfortunately doesn’t do much good for your career (which really sucks when you’re lazy).
So what’s the trick?
Hang them on the side of the shower, put the shower on full blast (and as hot as possible), close the bathroom door, and give it five minutes. The wrinkles can’t stand the steam and disappear pretty quickly. Sure beats ironing.
Obviously, environmental buffs will cringe at the thought of this, but if you really want to be environmentally friendly then stop being lazy (or you can just do it while you take your shower, either way).
Never pay a bill again.
Paying bills sucks, not only because it’s a responsible thing to do, but also because it forces you to come to the realization that all of your money is going away. This makes me cringe, so I used to tend to just not pay my bills.
Problem is, this causes other issues, and you generally end up having more problems on your hands. Not good for laziness, or your credit.
So what is a lazy man to do?
Automate your bills, obviously. Most companies will let you pay your bills online, and many will let you schedule your payments so you don’t actually have to do anything to pay the bill. Typically, they’ll just send you an email when you’ve made the payment at the right time every month. This way you never have to actually do anything. Sound good?
Unfortunately, though, there always seems to be a company on your list that’s stuck in 1984 and can’t seem to get their act together in collecting their money. Well, amuse them and get a bank account that will automatically send them an old-fashioned check in the mail at the same time every month. It’s called “automatic bill pay” and any bank worthy of this decade will do this for you in their Internet banking interface. If your bank still won’t do this, get a different bank. I recommend these guys:
Take your office with you wherever you go.
A huge part of being able to be productive and lazy is not having to physically move to get your work done. You’re not likely to get stuff done if you’re not at home and you have no way of remotely getting anything done. I often find myself with free time in the oddest situations, and if I have everything I need with me, I can make something of it. Otherwise, I’m stuck being bored.
But I can’t take my whole office with me…
Yes, you can. If it’s all digital, anyway. If you’re still dealing with a briefcase and papers, then you’re really wasting your time. I use a combination of Dropbox (for sharing my entire file collection between computers), PortableApps.com (for sharing applications between computers), Google Docs (for easy online access to all my documents), and Gmail (for email).
The best part is that I can access all of my data through all of the aforementioned services (sans PortableApps.com applications) on my Android phone. This means full access everywhere I go, and I can take advantage of waiting times throughout the day to get stuff done that I don’t want to have to do while relaxing in the evening.
Stop having to remember/fill in passwords online.
These days, you probably have logins online for dozens of different websites, and they’re probably all set to the same password (sic) or just a few different passwords (not much better). The security issues of this are a real problem, but lazy is as lazy does.
Still, though, how do you remember which of those few passwords you’re using for each site? You’ll probably end up trying all three, and if you’re lucky you’ll get in before the site locks you out for your negligence.
So fix it. Now.
Use a password manager like LastPass to automatically log you in to all of your websites. LastPass is my favorite because it works with all major web browsers, it’s free, and it’s really easy and convenient to use.
Not only does LastPass allow you to be lazy, but it also secures your online presence. It generates secure passwords for you (if you let it), so your passwords can all be different and even be crazy complicated (because you never have to type them out). Did I mention it will automatically sync between all your computers and browsers? This is one rare product that lets you be lazy and more secure at the same time. Use it.
Never listen to another voicemail ever again.
Voicemails suck because it takes forever to listen to them, especially when they’re from people who don’t know how to be concise. Not to mention horrible voicemail systems that take three years to navigate.
If you’re like me, your impatience for voicemails and voicemail systems leads to an overflowing voicemail box of three-year-old messages. And they don’t do a whole lot of good three years later. Especially when your voicemail provider automatically deletes them after a month or two.
But is there really a way around it?
Yes, there is. It’s called Google Voice and it will automatically translate voicemail messages into emails and/or text messages. This is hyper-productive because all it takes is a quick glance at the email or text message and you’ll get the point, unlike having to dial in, use the prompts, and then listen to the message.
Unfortunately Google Voice is still invitation-only (meaning you have to get an invitation from Google in order to use it), but that will change very soon. There are invitations floating around on various forums (I got mine by simply asking someone for one). To start, though, request an invitation here (directly from Google) and then do some web searches to see if you can find one more quickly. Not having to listen to voicemail messages is far worth the trouble of getting an invite, so don’t let that stop you.
If any of these tips were new to you, let us know how they’ve made you more productive (and/or lazy). Share your own tips, too; we’re all looking for ways to work less, get more done, and have more fun.