The Importance of Being Lazy

lazy worker

Procrastination as a productivity tool? As Microsoft’s chief experience officer, Julie Larson-Green’s job is to help people work smarter. But when it comes to her own day, she has a somewhat counter-intuitive approach. A 22-year Microsoft veteran, Larson-Green is responsible for the overarching experience of getting stuff done with Office and other tools on PCs, phones, wearables, and tablets. “We want to help you manage your scarce resource of time,” she says. Here’s how she does that herself.

Strategy to beat procrastination

“I’m a huge procrastinator and a fairly lazy person. Being lazy makes me more efficient, because I try to find ways that I can do the best work in the most minimal amount of time. I also know that I need pressure to perform, and procrastination is one of the levers for creating that pressure.”

Time-management system

“I keep a lot in my head: people I need to talk to, projects I’m working on. I usually have a running tally of things I need to get done. But I also keep a lot in Outlook. Unread mail is my to-do list.”

Media matters

“I spend some time before I get out of bed looking at Twitter and Facebook, looking at headlines about Microsoft. That doesn’t always sound like the most productive thing—it sounds like leisure reading. But it often comes out in things later: ‘Oh, I read this article about that—here’s something to think about.’ ”

A quiet start

“I need thinking time, so I carve out a few hours, usually in the morning. I get centered and ready to go.”

Great advice

“My parents always focused on making sure you finish what you start, and you do what you say you’re going to do. That was instilled pretty early in my family. My sisters and I are all kind of overachievers, so I think it worked.”