Discipline and Laziness

Being disciplined doesn’t solve the laziness problem.

I’ve managed to handle the first part but my colleagues know me for enjoying good food and preferring to drive even within a 5-minute walk distance.

That’s probably one of the reasons why I’ve picked a technical specialty first since it is fairly compliant with my sitting habits. I’d rather work continuously on my notebook for hours instead of washing the dishes for 15 minutes (even though I can’t avoid that every so often).

For what is worth, laziness isn’t a bad thing. Being unproductive, sloppy, procrastinating all the time are usually a problem.

Lazy people tend to struggle with repetitive tasks. And they are smart enough to look for loopholes, shortcuts, and creative ways to work around the system.

  • My first notable “laziness” hack was teaching myself basic programming only to create a large set of applications solving physics and math formulas for my homework assignments. I wanted to get the work done and didn’t feel like writing down basic math calculations over and over and over again.This resulted in a larger series of applications – like my first public free desktop application displaying an extensive overview of all elements from Mendeleev’s periodic table.
  • When I was 14, I freelanced for IDG – translating security news on certain topics. The English sources provided by the editor were poorly written and not that accurate. I can read Russian and I found several outstanding security sources that saved me a good chunk of my time.
  • At 15, I was also administering a large local classifieds website. Through a number of automated processes and a couple small scripts, I managed to fetch the required data I needed and pre-populate it by saving 2 steps from every 3-step process.

This kept recurring by creating and expanding on automated and well-defined models. Following a chart worked better for me. And it provided a visual representation of areas that could be automated or simplified.

By saving time I managed to study and work a couple jobs at the same time. They were still time-consuming, which taught me discipline and following deadlines closely.

When I started freelancing, I made some strategic mistakes due to my inability to negotiate and handle scope creep. After losing a lot of sleep and money, I sat down and wrote a checklist of questions I should sort out with prospects and points that had to be written clearly in my proposals.

While transitioning to a company and hiring some team members, everything got much more complicated. I was responsible for paying salaries and taking care – indirectly – of my team member’s families dependent on my paycheck.

I even had to start a part-time job in order to ensure that I could afford paying my salaries. It took some time until we generated enough recurring revenue that filled the buffer bucket and covered the salaries for a few months ahead.

As a conclusion, I’d say that laziness is not a bad thing in a controlled environment. Achieving results is what matters.

And discipline is taught through responsibility and handling a large volume of activities within a limited time frame. Most regular folks I know of learned discipline once they moved out, got tasked to pay rent and communal fees, and later on take care of kids and other family members.