Strive To Be Lazy

Most employers, entrepreneurs, and parents (bah!) will tell you that, "hard work pays off!" And I'm sure that in varying degrees they are all right. But I learned pretty early on that not everything has to be hard, in fact, sometimes the easier things are, the better they work. I'm going to let you in on something I learned in college that has become somewhat of a mantra to me:

Keep It Simple Stupid.

Keep it simple stupid.
not a simple system
Also known as the KISS Principle, the underlying idea comes from something that has been attributed as an Albert Einstein quote (though it might be paraphrased)

Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.

The supposed origin of the KISS Principle is that when designing a jet aircraft, the engineers were told that the jet must be repairable by an average mechanic using a standard set of tools. Thus, 'Stupid' refers to the level of sophistication to be able to fix it.

Earlier in my career I was told that I should "strive to be lazy" with the programs that I write. That a truly well designed system should be flexible enough so that if something needed to be added or changed then it was a simple fix. Thus, your future self could be lazy. This mostly requires good planning before you begin so that you can hopefully predict what a typical user may request in the future and leaving room to extend your program later to handle it.

Don't get me wrong I still believe in the hard work part that everyone else talks about, but I also don't want to have to duplicate my efforts every time an enhancement needs to be made. As Jason over at Dividend Mantra mentioned to me, "[work smarter, not harder.] The former will get you much further in life, while also allowing a lot of latitude to be lazy."

This is also how I think that you should approach your finances. Work hard at first. Find ways to reduce your spending and increase your savings and income.

If you start young and put in the hard work early, compound interest will help pick up the slack down the road so you can be lazy later. Here's a quick look at compound interest at work in case you haven't seen it.

Compound Interest

As you can see, if you can save $10,000 by the age you are 25, that can grow to $147,000 by the time you are 60 without ever having to add another dollar! All you really have to do is put that money in an index fund and you're done!

And it's not that I just want to be lazy, it's that I just don't see the point in working forever. I'm not passionate about my day job. My last job I wrote mostly accounting software, if my work was completed on time then new report features would be released. It would save other people time on doing calculations by hand. There was no real reward or meaning to it.

So now I strive to be lazy.

[Gif via GIPHY]


  1. Excellent point. Put the time and effort in on a solid, fertile foundation, and growing from there becomes much easier. If you're lazy from day 1, you're always struggling to just keep your head above water. (Love the Office Space insert too!)

    1. Yeah, it's all about starting that nest egg, saving money has the same snowball effect that paying down debt has, just in reverse. I also think that if you start with a lot of hard work and a solid foundation then you're used to the hard work, so everything you do after should feel easier anyways.

      Office Space speaks to me in so many ways. It's the perfect movie for anyone who's been in a corporate job or wants to reach financial independence so they can do what they want rather than have work dictate their life.

  2. One day it is my hope that I have the *choice* whether to be lazy when it comes to earnings and finances lol! Now that is a goal

    1. I'd like to think that is everyone's final goal in life. Being secure enough to just "live" however you want and do whatever you want would be amazing. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Great post! In the book Living the 80/20 way by Richard Koch he describes this as beinin 'smart lazy'.

    1. I like that term "smart lazy" I would be proud to wear it!

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