To help others become effective slackers, here are the seven habits of highly effective slackers:
1. Don't volunteer yourself for anything. Whether a request comes via email or in a meeting, don't ever get involved in something that isn't mandatory. If no one else volunteers, they'll eventually assign someone. Until they do, bank on the fact that a go-getter will jump at the opportunity and fail miserably. Getting yourself into non-mandatory activities only threatens to reduce your free time, or even worse, increase your physical hours at work. The one exception is actual volunteer work. Anything that gets you out of the office is ok in the effective slacker handbook.
2. Always send emails when making a request to another employee. Others at the office love to schedule 30 - 60 minute meetings to make sure "everything is covered" or to schedule a "kickoff" or "walkthrough" before handing off an "action item" to another employee. Using these tactics ultimately lead to schedules packed with unnecessary meetings. An empty outlook calendar is the true sign of a highly effective slacker. Emails that end with "if you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me" are basically a legal disclaimer that translates to "I sent it to you. If it doesn't get done and I'm not aware of you not getting it done, or your inability to not get it done, it's your fault, not mine." Many experts disagree and advise personal conversation. 90% of your work does not require personal conversation.
3. Never inform people that you finish things early. Delivering on time is just as good. There's no reason to be over ambitious. Getting things done early is highly recommended but only for your own advantage. For example, when forced into meetings, try to listen closely during the first portion of the meeting. You can usually clue in on what the "action items" are and complete them before the end of the meeting. Highly organized people will be in charge of determining the timeline for your "deliverables". They are usually completely clueless and they'll give you way too much time to complete the item. When you find out they just gave you three days on an item you already completed, it is highly imperative to keep your mouth shut. Finding out you just received three days to do absolutely nothing is like waking up on Christmas morning as a child and finding Nintendo's Rad Racer under the tree.
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'Seven Habits' is a recurring article appearing in Dudley B. Dawson's Life in the Cubicle column at completely random moments.
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