The case of the lazy day

By KC Boxbottom in Optimization on April 19, 2012

KC Boxbottom’s comfy chair

I was in my comfy chair resting my eyes when my wife came into the office and startled me alert.

“KC, whatever are you doing?” she inquired. “If you don’t have anything to do in the office, I can find some chores at home.”

“Practicing, Nellie my dear–practicing,” I told her.

“Practicing!?! Practicing what, exactly?”

“Being lazy,” I replied.

Let me tell you about David Lamb, the man who was too lazy to fail.*

David was a West Virginia farmer’s kid. His father gave him the choice of helping him in the fields or going to school. Hmm…work in the sun and rain or sit inside all day and read books? Tough decision. David, being lazy, chose school, and so he made his way through life practicing constructive laziness.

He summed up his philosophy as this: “All progress is made by a lazy person looking for an easier way.”

There is a lot of unnecessary, non-value adding work on most packaging floors. This causes the teammates to work harder than they need to. It also creates more opportunity for errors.

I challenge teammates to be lazy and to always be discovering new ways to make their jobs easier and to produce more and better products. They usually have more good ideas than you could shake a stick at.”

“Nice try, mi amor,” Nellie said. “Now here is a list of things I want you to do.”

* The story “The man who was too lazy to fail” appears in Robert Heinlein’s novel “Time Enough for Love”


KC Boxbottom, packaging detective, is on the case to solve tough packaging puzzles. He is the alter-ego of John Henry, CPP. Known as the Changeover Wizard, Henry is the owner of, a consulting firm that helps companies find and fix the causes of inefficiencies in their packaging operations. He produces a free monthly newsletter called Lean Changeover, which contains articles and tips on changeover and related issues. Reach him at [email protected].

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Interesting story and concept, but I’m not too sure I would feel a whole lot differently than your wife! I am going to try that, however, on my my family tonight. When my husband and 4 children are asking for this, and asking for that, I’m going to tell them that I’m practicing being lazy, because someone told me I could get a lot more done if I just sat down on the couch for a little while. I can call it “my planning time”. Who knows, maybe I will come up with some newer and faster ways of getting things done around the house!