Most of us plan our activity. But how many of us spend time thinking of ways to really do nothing? To reach such a goal requires true organization and a concept of how to not do anything.
Some deep thinkers touched upon this concept. In the sage words of the Marx Brothers (I would have looked up the exact quote, but it required too much effort) "We got up at 7 and by 7:30 we had had breakfast and were back in our pajamas." Few people can equal the insight of this profound artistic understatement.
Many fine organizations and executives accomplish nothing and are rewarded handsomely for it. But there’s rarely any system to this. If they could formulate how they are able to not do things, they could continue to accomplish nothing with little effort and less thought than normal. Here’s my blue print for reaching this goal without trying too hard.
Be resolved. Get up every morning fully committed to doing nothing. If you practice a regimen every day, you will soon be accomplishing less than you had ever hoped.
Less is more
Publish. There’s nothing more important in doing nothing than telling a lot of people about it.
People expect very little. If you give it to them, they expect less. Within a year or two, they expect nothing at all. Make sure you let them know how little you’ve done for them.
If you are recognized for doing nothing, you will be taken much more seriously. Make sure you have rewards for your inactivity.
It’s more important to look busy than to do work.
Never set expectations you won’t fail to meet. Promise little. Do less.
Management expands to fill available time. The more time you have, the more people you need giving orders. The more people you have giving orders, then more people you need telling them what to do. Give them frequent raises.
The important goal of issuing reports is to issue reports. Never let lack of content interfere with a good report. The less you say, the more widely it will be read. Use lots of graphs. The less information you offer, the more impressive it looks in color.
If you have a question, the last person you should ask is the person most likely to have the answer. Be sure to appoint a committee to avoid talking to the right people.
Computerize. You can’t truly do nothing by hand any more. You need a computer to do it for you. The more computers you have doing nothing, the more computers you will be able to budget for in order to accomplish even less. Remember, there’s nothing management understands better or is willing to spend increasing amounts of money on than useless technology it doesn’t understand. Be sure to ask for frequent upgrades.
Role models are critical. If people see you doing nothing, they will follow. The more people follow, the more other people will follow. It is essential that nobody understands this process.
Hire an expert. You need somebody to certify how little you have need in order to establish your credibility. Hire a consultant. If you plan to do even less, hire more consultants. Remember the number of consultants always expand at a faster rate than available funds.
Get plenty of sleep. Then get more.
Eat, drink, and be merry. Repeat.
In our next issue:
Scott’s 10-point program to developing a good 10-point program.
Bob Scott is on vacation. He is studying to become a master of doing nothing.
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