Bill Gates once famously said: “I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” A few years ago, someone on Reddit asked if anyone had any examples of this happening in real life. Here were the 10 top responses:
1. Low-Level Data Guy Creates Macros to Do His Job
If the answers on Reddit are anything to go off, it seems most lazy people work in IT! According to one Redditor, a guy he knew who had a low-level data/reporting job created macros that handled his major responsibilities. He’d the run the macros and voila, his job was literally done – he probably did about an hour of actual work each day. His real achievement? Not telling anyone. He got away with it scot-free for years, eventually leaving the job for a higher-paid position.
2. Brother Outsources Chores to Nephew, Who Outsources to Neighbor
Some laziness is downright entrepreneurial. One Redditor described how his “brother gave my oldest nephew 10 dollars a week if he did all his chores without needing to be told or complaining. One day he gets home early from work and sees the neighbor kid tossing a bag in the trash. He asks him what he is doing and the kid says he gets 5 bucks a week to take care of a few chores. My nephew outsourced his chores.”
As one comment below put it: “Outsourcing and child labour? This kids destined to be a Nike CEO one day.”
3. Genius Plugs Clocks In at Midnight
Ever get tired of having to change the time on your clocks and watches? One lazy Redditor has a solution. They wrote: “I plug clocks in at midnight so they’re already set.” Someone else added another related suggestion: “Trip the main fuse in the house at midnight to do all the appliances too lol.”
4. Engineer Creates Program to Start Coffee Pot From Desk
How far would you go to simplify the process of getting a cup of coffee in the morning? One tech whizz at a company managed to develop a program that let them use the coffee machine from their desk. At the push of a button, they could get a cup of Java brewing so they didn’t have to wait for it in the break room.
5. Lazy Canadians Try Using Bears to Clear Snow From Powerlines, Find Better Option
This one seems farfetched at best. But apparently it’s true! Gingrpenguin wrote:
“Every year in the Canadian winter, powerlines would fail due to the weight of the snow. It took many days to build up enough to break a line so they employed a team to walk the routes and shake the poles to loosen the snow.
One day they saw a bear shaking the poles and realized that if they could get the bear to do it they wouldn’t need to walk the route.
So they gave one guy a bucket of honey and he’d walk the route painting the sides of the poles with honey to attract the bears. It worked for a few more years But this still takes a lot of time to do. So then they had the idea of flying a helicopter along the route with a trained sniper with honey paintballs that he’d shoot the poles with.
On its maiden flight the helicopter passed the lines and the downdraft blew away all of the snow. The flights continue to this day but without the sniper.”
6. DIY Excel Formula Simplifies Sheet with 124,000 Rows
On Redditor described how an ex-boss handed them an excel sheet with 124,000 rows of data on it. Their task? To go through them one by one to look for errors in duplicate entries. Needless to say, they did it their way:
“I thanked her. I sat down. Invested half an hour into Google. Copy pasted some parts of this formula, then some parts of that. Finally I had figured out the formula. I double clicked the tiny rectangle so that the formula gets applied on all rows. Worked like a charm. I stood up, got myself a coffee, talked to some colleagues. Then I went to my boss. She had anticipated that I would need 3 days for this task. When I was back less than an hour later, she thought I hadn’t understood the task or maybe a follow up question. I will never forget the expression on her face when I told her I was done. There were 6 faulty entries.”
7. Toothbrush Manufacturer Leverages Laziness to Solve Key Problem
The Redditor who posted this one prefaced it by saying they don’t know if it’s true! However, it’s a cool story about a toothpaste manufacturer who had a problem:
“There was a manufacturing plant that made toothpaste. One year for some reason there ended up being an unusually high number of empty boxes being shipped out. So in order to stop that from happening the head of the company hired a couple engineers to develop a system to catch any empty boxes so they didn’t get shipped with the boxes that actually had the toothpaste tubes in them.
The engineers developed a system that if the box weighed below a certain amount the system would stop and a worker would have to go remove the box and start everything up again. The person in charge loved the idea and implemented it immediately. And right from the get go the number of empty boxes shipped dropped to near zero.
The head of the company wanted to go see the system in action so he goes and visits the plant one day and notices a huge fan right by the assembly line. Very confused as it wasn’t hot he asked the plant manager why the fan was there. The plant manager said the workers were tired of stopping what they were doing to remove an empty box so they just hooked up a fan to blow the empty boxes off the scale before the system recognized it was empty and shut everything off.”
8. Walkie Talkies for the Win
JuiceBox1 had a simple but popular response: “Walkie Talkie’s. In every job I’ve ever had these things make your day far less labor intensive if used correctly.” Someone chimed in to agree, saying “I wish we had these things. Spent 20 minutes of my coffee break at 3 am trying to call the plant in an area with next to no service so they could let me in the building because my ******* left my wallet inside. Didn’t get my coffee either.”
9. Child Genius Solves Math Problem with Logic
Nobody likes a know-it-all. But you gotta give credit where it’s due – especially when the person in question is seven years old. One Redditor gave an anecdote from the childhood of a famous German mathematician called Carl Friedrich Gauss:
“When Carl Friedrich Gauss, the famous German mathematician and physicist was in elementary school (around 1784), his class was assigned the “busy work” task of adding all the numbers from 1 to 100 (1+2+3+4, and so on). This usually kept the class quiet for half an hour or so. Seven year-old Carl was sitting quietly with the correct answer (5050) while the rest of the class was just starting, so the surprised teacher asked him how he came up with the solution. He replied that he added 1 and 100 and got 101. Then he added 2 and 99, and got 101, 3 plus 98 = 101, and so on. He realized there was a pattern of 50 pairs of numbers with each pair adding up to 101. And 50 x 101 = 5050.”
10. Laborer Loses Job After Automating an Irrigation System
Last but not least is this answer from InquiringKata, who’s laziness ended up putting them out of a job. They wrote:
“Worked as a laborer at a nursery one summer. Daily tasks included manually watering 15,000 plants each day. Put together a back of the napkin plan to build an irrigation system and spent the next few weeks building it with some money from the boss. That system is still running 15 years later and does all the work now. I did automate myself out of the job and had to find another eventually. Couple years later got my engineering degree. I’m convinced Engineers are inherently lazy people that will spend a disproportionate effort to make things easier.”
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