The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn't, and Get Stuff Done

The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn't, and Get Stuff Done

by Kendra Adachi

The Lazy Genius Way will teach you systematic practical principles that can help you get things done without losing yourself in the process. It will help you craft a life that focuses only on what matters to you and not on what everyone else says matters - in short, the book will teach you how to notice what matters and carve out important space in your day to nurture growth in this area.

Summary Notes

Thinking the Lazy Genius Way

“Every choice matters because each one matters to someone, but hold only the ones that matter to you.”

Most of us struggle throughout life because we try to do everything, even when it does not matter to us. This mindset can easily result in dissatisfaction, frustrations, fatigue, and failure. Look at it this way, when you care about something, you try to do it well, but when you care about everything, you do nothing well.  

To live an easy and productive life, you need to start thinking the lazy genius way, which is all about striking a balance. It’s not about choosing to be all lazy or all genius - rather you choose to be a lazy genius. You need to focus on being a genius about the things that matter to you and being lazy about those that don’t.

To become a lazy genius, you need to know yourself and be real to yourself, irrespective of society's expectations. You also need to accept others the way they are, and above all, you should never be afraid to try what matters to you.

Actions to take

Learning to decide once

“By discovering a few opportunities to decide once and then never again, you give your brain more room to play”

One of the reasons we hardly have energy for the things that matter to us is our constant decision-making. Indecision is a time stealer, so you need to learn to decide once. A single intentional decision can relieve your brain. It will free you to think about what matters instead of living in a never-ending cycle of choosing this and that. 

As a lazy genius, you need to learn to make one-time decisions about the things that do not really matter to concentrate on the right processes of getting the things that matter. For example, if you are a marketing executive, you should decide once about when you will wake up, what you will eat and what you will wear to work, so you can spend the rest of your day finding solutions to a sudden fall in sales.

As human beings, we naturally make fixed decisions, especially when it comes to the things we own. You need to learn to make only good fixed decisions that can add value to your life instead of taking value from it. For example, buying a car or a new house are all fixed decisions that come with responsibilities and consequences since they require maintenance. It, therefore, makes sense to make fixed decisions about the things that you can conveniently handle without stress. You have absolutely no reason to splash huge amounts of cash on items you can’t maintain. That would just be a waste of resources and time. 

Actions to take

Starting small

“The smaller the step, the more likely you will do it. The more you do it, the more you will keep doing it, making it a meaningful part of your daily rhythm, which is what counts”.

Most of us get stuck in life because of the “go big” or “go home” mentality, which is wrong. When you have this mindset, your reaction to problems is either giving up or trying the next thing. You need to realize that even the right system can be irrelevant if you haven’t yet named what matters to you and if you dismiss the value of small steps.

You need to learn to start small. Small steps get you unstuck as they do the invisible work of motivating you to trust the process and keep going. Small steps are easy, sustainable, and above all, they can keep you going - in short, small steps matter, they count and they are the best way to start moving.

Actions to take

The magic question: what can I do now to make life easier later?

“We’ve all gotten burned plenty of times and will again, but you can be better prepared by asking that one magical question: What can I do now to make life easier.”

Life can be so overwhelming when you have to multitask. For example, it can really be challenging trying to be a good mum, a supportive friend, and a productive worker simultaneously. However, your best bet shouldn't be to quit, but you should rather take a pause and ask yourself the magic question - “What can I do now to make life easier later?”

The magic question is crucial because it guides you towards attending to what is necessary before it becomes urgent.  This is why you need to follow those things, no matter how small they are, as they can make your life easier afterward, instead of responding to the next urgent thing that comes up. After all, lazy geniuses start small and do not need to tackle a dozen tasks to prepare for later.

The mindset that multitasking will pave the way for a better tomorrow is wrong. Your best bet is to always stay one step ahead in the areas that matter to you, so you can avoid putting out fixes as part of your daily routine.

Actions to take

Living in the season

“Being a lazy genius doesn't mean loving every season, it means welcoming each one kindly and letting it teach you something.”

Life is never the same every day. You can be happy in one season and sad in another. Most of us love the good seasons but find it challenging to sail through those difficult moments. Living in your season can be further complicated because we all have different personalities, longings, and perspectives on our seasons. For example, a positive pregnancy result could be the start of the best season for a couple who has been trying to conceive, while it remains the worst season for couples who don't want more children.

Being a lazy genius doesn't mean you will love all seasons, but you need to learn to kindly welcome each season and let it teach you some valuable lessons about life. Remember that seasons not only come and go, but they also invite you to become more of who you already are. You can easily go through a rough season by loving yourself, being honest with yourself, and finding solutions to get out of what is in front of you.

When you focus on what your season doesn't have, the result is likely despair, resentment, anxiety, and unhealthy competition with your peers.

Actions to take

Building the right routines

“Routines are on-ramps to somewhere else, not destinations themselves.”

Many of us have routines to help improve different areas of our lives. For example, you could have a nighttime routine to help improve your sleep or a beauty routine to keep you youthful and flawless. It’s a good thing to follow routines, but the problem is that most of us follow them on the things that do not really matter to us. We find ourselves doing certain routines just because others are doing them, which is wrong. As a lazy genius, you do not need to follow routines blindly. You need to follow only those who matter to you and add value to your life. 

There is no particular routine that is ideal for everyone. The purpose of a routine is to help you work the path of what matters, but it's not the only road to get there. For example, you might choose to lose weight by waking up every morning at 5 am to exercise, while another person might choose intermittent fasting twice a week. This is to say there is no right or wrong routine as long as it is taking you to where you are headed.

A routine is more like a repeated act of preparation and not the destination. So avoid judging others or yourself for not following particular routines. Rather, you should high-five others for living their truths regardless of how different or similar their routines are from yours.

Actions to take

Setting house rules and putting everything in its place

“Lazy genius house rules are simple choices that support what matters to you and your people.”

Most of us set house rules on things that don’t really matter to us. Most of our house rules come from places of insecurity, focusing on either maintaining our reputations or impressing those visiting us, which is wrong. For example, most house rules include protecting things like the house you just cleaned, the car you just washed, or your sanity. The urge to protect comes naturally, but it doesn't usually lead you in a healthy direction.

As a lazy genius, you need to set simple house rules that support what matters to you and your family. You need to focus on practical and tangible rules meant to lead a home environment for connection and not protection. Realize that the purpose of house rules is not to maintain control but to be in a better headspace to engage with what matters - your family.

We all prioritize different things, so what works for you might not work for others. After all, there is no single house rule that fits every house, hence the different house rules for cleaning, reading, playing, and eating.

A major part of setting house rules involves putting everything in its place to create a better environment for you and your family to thrive better.  

Actions to take

Letting people in your life

“We can’t live well without connection and community”

We have already established the fact that a lazy genius invests much time, resources, and energy into the things that matter to them. Relationships happen to top the list of the things that matter to us because everyone needs support. This is also where we get to understand ourselves better.

However, being in relationships is something we simultaneously want and avoid. This is because we let the fear of rejection cloud our desire for connection. Sometimes, we do not also know where to strike a balance between not caring and caring too much in relationships, which is also a problem.

As a lazy genius, you need to realize that what matters in friendship is honesty, vulnerability, and growing closer through conflict. You need to be effortful in cultivating friendships that will make you a better version of yourself. Love others for who they are, so you can also be loved for who you are.

Actions to take

Batching your tasks

“It’s likely you build many of your projects from scratch when instead you could batch their tasks and get them done a little quicker.”

Many of us build our projects from scratch when we can batch their tasks and get them done a little quicker. Batching involves doing the same kind of task all at once. When you batch your tasks, you save more time doing the things that truly matter to you. It also gives your brain a break since you are essentially turning your tasks on autopilot.

Although you are not a robot, some things are better automated. Not everything has to be thoughtful - some of the work need to be automated for the sake of your time and energy, leaving those valuable resources for the pursuits you want to be thoughtful about.

That said, it's easy to batch tasks that are repetitive and jobs that require you to undo. 

Actions to take

Essentialism and working in the right order

“When you fill your life with things that are not essential to what matters, you unintentionally add noise, and managing noise is part of why you’re tired.”

As you journey through life, it's important to learn to choose the things that matter to you and intentionally ignore those that don’t. True fulfillment comes from removing everything that distracts you from what matters and leaving only what’s essential. Remember that if something isn’t essential for you, it's just noise.

To embrace what matters and ditch what doesn't, you need to know what truly matters. This applies to every area of your life, from your life purpose to getting dressed or spending your money. When you identify what matters, you will likely know what you need to support it.’

Filling your life with things that don’t matter to you could cause you to focus on the wrong things and become tired. You can only have the energy to live a more fulfilled life the moment you start choosing what’s essential.

Working in the right direction is just as important as focusing on the essential things since doing things in the right order can result in more efficiency. 

There are three self-explicit steps to follow when choosing essentials for anything;

  1. Name what really matters;
  2. Remove what’s on the way
  3. Keep only the essentials

Actions to take

Scheduling rest

“If you want to embrace what matters, you need mindfulness to do it. If you want to get stuff done, you need energy to do it. Both of these are fueled by rest”.

Sometimes, we get so busy to the extent that our bodies become exhausted and we can no longer function properly. It can be overwhelming trying to be a good wife, a caring mother, a supportive friend, and a career woman at the same time. Even the strongest people need to make time for rest, so they can function properly.

Lack of rest can result in many adverse effects on the body, yet most of us prefer to deal with the immediate symptoms while ignoring long-term solutions. Most of us don’t even know how to rest. That’s why scheduling time for rest doesn't translate to having quality rest. Sure, we can all go on vacation yet still return without any quality rest.

Sleep is one of the most common forms of rest that we all need to function properly. Sleep is effective in healing wounds, reducing inflammations, and regulating hormones. 

Actions to take

Being kind to yourself

“Without affection for ourselves, without softness on the inside, without being kind to ourselves, we will always be tired.”

We often focus so much on connecting with the people that matter to us that we forget to show kindness to ourselves. This is not right. As a lazy genius, you need to be kind to yourself by loving and treating yourself well.

The golden rule says you have to treat your friends the way you want to be treated, while the lazy genius golden rule states that you are your own friend. This only means that you should look after yourself like you would look after a dear friend. If you are not judgemental and hard on your friends, you do not need to be judgemental and hard on yourself.

Realize that you are not a project nor something to be fixed and assessed daily. You are simply a person of value as you are, and that person deserves your kindness because she is your friend. 

Being kind to yourself entails valuing who you are, reflecting on who you are becoming, and above all, celebrating your milestones along the way.

Actions to take

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