There are so many things that technology has made easier nowadays, and sometimes I wonder if it’s made us a little lazy too. Not intentionally “I just want to lay on the couch and watch TV all day” lazy, but the kind of laziness that you don’t even realize has crept up on you, especially when you’re working 10+ hour days and running from 6 a.m. in the morning until 10 p.m. at night. Who you callin’ lazy?!
Well, what I’m talking about is laziness in our thinking! When we get lazy with our thinking, we put the burden on someone else to do the thinking for us. Here a few ways I see it happening (and I’m sure I’ve been guilty myself!) and what you can do to avoid lazy thinking:
- Hitting “forward” on an email with little or no explanation. When you forward an email to me without a brief explanation of why you’re forwarding it and what you want me to do with it, you force me to stop and read the entire email stream to figure out what’s going on and what, if anything, I might need to do about it. Next time you forward an email, be a good steward of your colleague’s time and give them the courtesy of the following: what the email is about, why you’re forwarding it to them, and what you’re asking them to do (if anything) as a result.
- Failing to make a recommendation. This is often done via email, but it happens in person too. We simply ask, “What do you want to do?” or “What do you think?” This question is fine to ask – after you have briefly shared the background on the decision and your thought process behind your own recommendation.
- Doing it that way because we’ve always done it that way. Seth Godin wrote an excellent brief post on this mindset this week by pointing out that we stick with the way it has always been done “because if someone changes it, that someone will be responsible for what happens.” The truth is we should be asking why we do certain things the way we’ve always done them, and if the answer is “it’s more convenient for us” or “changing would be a pain,” we should probably re-consider making a change.
Keep learning, keep inquiring, and keep brainstorming solutions. Our busyness is never an excuse to stop thinking. How can you do a better job leading up or across by thinking of ideas or recommendations?