These Geniuses Work Smart, Not Hard 

January 19, 2022 | Derek Choi

These Geniuses Work Smart, Not Hard 

It’s said that lazy people will always find the most efficient way to do a complicated task. Whether it’s with work, in life, or at school, some people will always manage to save a little more time and money. These 50 Redditors share their stories of how thinking smarter made their lives so much easier.

1. The Empty Rolls

No doubt about it, my girlfriend would destroy me for this if she found out about this. I hate taking a finished toilet paper roll downstairs to throw it out. Me just leaving the empty roll in the bathroom annoys the heck out of my girlfriend, so I developed this strategy. When there were only a few sheets left, I'd start using sheets from a new roll, and leave the old roll with sheets still on it.

That way, she'd always be the one to finish the roll and have to take the empty one downstairs.

Wild reasons for divorceUnsplash

2. Slapping On A Band-Aid

Before it was shut down entirely, I was able to privately tour the coal power plant in Southeastern Virginia. At one point in the tour, the guide told me to watch out for a cord on the floor. The cord ran to a small, window air-conditioning unit that was duct-taped to a vent. Supposedly, one day the plant began to overheat, and the plant would have to be shut down in order to repair the malfunction.

There are emergency reserves for situations like this, but the plant was overheating faster than they could switch it over. Someone at the plant had just purchased the AC unit and had it in the back of their vehicle. They ran and grabbed it, plugged it in, and pointed it into one of the vents. The amount of cool air it produced was enough to not only offset the overheating but also re-regulate the system.

So instead of repairing the issue, they just fixed the AC in place, and let it run continuously until the day the plant shut down.

Viral Trends And Challenges factsPxHere

3. We’re The Cool Interns

I was an intern at a large company for one summer back home from college. My work consisted of importing data to Excel, cleaning the data, and generating reports. I came up with a brilliant plan to cut my work in half. In the first two weeks after getting a hang of my responsibilities, writing all the Excel formulas needed, and basically automating 99% of my work, I was chilling.

I went from actually working from nine to five to maybe an hour a day at most. Finding, importing, cleaning, and reporting usually took hours but with all the formulas, it took about two minutes of clicking. I then helped the other cool intern get his stuff set up so we could both just chill. We could take two-hour lunches and nobody said anything cause we were just getting so much more done compared to the other interns.

Of course, I helped for special tasks when asked but those were simple tasks like building something in Excel. Overall, it was the easiest and most stress-free internship of my life.

Work Smart FactsUnsplash

4. The Fastest Stocker

I was working as a stock boy in a supermarket and when we had to fill the milk cooler, people would bust open a 12-pack of milk cartons and put them in one by one. On my first day, I just placed the 12 pack in the cooler, cut the plastic off on one side with my box cutter, and yanked it out from under it. The look on the store manager's face was pure bewilderment.

From that day on, everyone did it my way.

Work Smart FactsShutterstock

5. Breaking The Bread

When I was in college, I had a job at an Italian fast-food place with a reputation for its breadsticks. They came in frozen and needed some time to thaw. To help them defrost, we'd take a giant aluminum baking sheet, spread them out in a single layer with no spaces, cover it with a plastic bag, then leave it to sit in the walk-in overnight. The next day, you'd have to get a pair of tongs and move each stick to a new tray, turning them over, then cover the new tray with the bag and let them sit on racks for a couple of hours before brushing on the garlic butter sauce.

This was tedious enough that you'd usually be ready to brush the butter on the first tray as soon as you turned the last tray. I was given this task for the first time one morning and just did not want to deal with it. I realized if I put the second tray upside down on top of the first one then turned it over and took the first tray out, I got exactly the same results. Blew the boss's mind when I did the three-hour job in about 15 minutes. I was given a $0.05/hour raise.

Work Smart FactsFlickr, Rebecca Siegel

6. You’re A Mad Scientist!

We had to hold a thermometer in water in chemistry class. It was only a 20-minute experiment, but your arms get tired after a couple of minutes, and you can’t let the thermometer touch the bottom of the pan, or it won’t get an accurate reading. So instead of sucking it up and just holding the thermometer, my lab partner built a contraption out of lab books and paperclips to somehow hold the thermometer in the water without it touching the bottom.

It was the stupidest looking thing you would ever see in a lab class. At one point during our experiment, our professor walked over and said something that really stuck with me: “If it looks stupid, sounds stupid, but it works, then it isn’t stupid.” Of course, my lab partner and I joked that he wasn’t talking about the contraption but the intellect of my lab partner.

Work Smart FactsShutterstock

7. An Extravagant Tipper

I used to work at a restaurant that would track our tip percentage, but not too much else of our activity. The number of tables we got per night would be based on our tip percentage, and there was also a regional leaderboard. We were allowed to buy food from the restaurant, but we couldn't ring ourselves in. Which led me and my friend Jim to our greatest discovery.

We would buy a side of mashed potatoes from each other, a $2.00 side, and pay with a credit card. We would then tip each other 10-12 dollars, a 500-600% tip. We would do this every so often, not enough to be ridiculous, and within a few months we were the top servers in the entire region, with an average tip percentage of over 30%, thereby granting us some kind words from management and the most tables per night of the whole restaurant.

Customer Service FactsShutterstock

8. Buying Bargain Books

I used to work at Walden Books back in the day. There was a dude who used to routinely come in and buy bargain books. He would then go home and come back another time with the bargain stickers ripped off to return them and claim he didn't have a receipt. We would then have to give him store credit for the higher price that the books rang up as.

He would then come back at a later time and use the store credit to buy full priced books. He would then come back one final time and return the books with a receipt for cash. It used to irritate me when he would do this because I knew what he was doing and there wasn't anything I could do about it. Interestingly enough, this very same man would become a supervisor of mine at another place I worked at later and was a pretty cool guy.

I never mentioned to him that I knew about his scheme, but even if I told him, he probably wouldn’t have cared.

Rich People Buy FactsNeedpix

9. Step One: Nothing

In 1927, my grandfather started his new job at Dupont on a Friday. His first assignment was to separate a chemical that was suspended in another chemical. He was handed a beaker of the stuff to work on. Since it was late on a Friday afternoon, he did nothing with it, just stuck it on a shelf and went home. He came back Monday morning to discover that the chemical had precipitated out and was sitting on the bottom of the beaker.

He showed this to his new boss, who decided my grandfather was a genius. This process, doing nothing to the suspension, became the first of my grandfather's 47 patents.

Work Smart FactsPexels

10. I’d Rather Not Climb

Back in high school, a lot of kids used to walk through this park to get to and from school. A portion of the path went into the woods because it was just quicker than walking the actual trail. At one point in the walk through the woods, you had to go up this small but tedious hill. It was nothing major, but it took like ten seconds of hard work to get up it.

You couldn’t go around because one side was a small cliff to the creek below, and the other side had dense trees. One summer, a bunch of us got together and decided to just dig through that hill to make it flat. It took like 14 of us three good days to get through it. It was a hard three days, but it was definitely worth every second.

It saved ten seconds of hill-climbing every morning and afternoon, 150+ days of the year. And it wasn’t just us, but hundreds of other kids who took the same path every day. Sometimes you need to put in a lot of work so your future selves can enjoy the easy way out.

Work Smart FactsMax Pixel

11. Overflowing Points

On my iPhone, there is a particular app that awards "M Points" whenever you do certain things in the app; the first time you open it each day, when you watch one of the news stories, that kind of thing. Well, you could trade in those M points for tons of things, including Amazon gift cards. Five thousand M points was a five-dollar Amazon gift card.

Watching a 10-minute video was worth about 300 M points. The trick was that you could drag the bar to the end of the video, and it would still trigger the M points. Basically, you could make about $5 a minute the first day they opened it. My buddy and I stayed up super late that night and made several hundred dollars in Amazon gift cards that night.

The next morning, they reduced the value from 300 to something like 100 points. Still worth it in that you could make a third of the money which was essentially free. The final blow was when they reduced the amount to something like 10 points, then it became too much. In the end, after about a week, we bought two high end gaming computers from nearly scratch.

We already had a tower and power supply for one, but the other was completely built for free, courtesy of this app. It was incredible.

Acts of Kindness FactsWikipedia

12. Table For Two

My wife and I were at a super fancy restaurant in NYC. Reservations were not allowed, and there was a waitlist. We get there and are told we would be waiting about two hours. It was no problem, we planned on this. Some guy right after us shook the reservation guy’s hand, handing him $200. The next thing I know, I hear "Table for two for Thomas."

Thomas being my name, and having asked for a table of two, I say, “That’s me.” They sit us and we order drinks and appetizers. Five minutes later they say we are the wrong Thomas but that we could stay since we had already ordered. But it didn't end there. Guess who was the right Thomas? The guy who paid two hundred dollars to skip the line.

Significant Other Was "The One FactsShutterstock

13. Hidden Deals

In the good old days of Black Friday before stores like Best Buy started getting very crafty and clandestine with their deals, there used to be a slight buffer where someone would leak the sales and the items wouldn't be removed from the shelves. I don't remember specifically, but they had a system to prevent you from purchasing then price matching retroactively.

As soon as this happened, I strolled on down to Best Buy, took a bunch of stuff that I wanted, and hid them in their dryers and washing machines. Basically, I used whatever hiding place that didn't look like it got a lot of browsing or consideration. Then when Black Friday comes, I sleep in, head to the store around noon, and pull the doorbusters out of a washing machine.

Quit On The Spot factsFlickr, Random Retail

14. Just Fast Enough

At work, I go through parts and apply two different kinds of tape and two different kinds of weave. I have finally gotten the rhythm down and now I do each part individually, applying everything at once. Everyone else goes through an entire order, first applying tape, then going through it again to do the weave. I asked to use the big table in the back of the shop, and just put all the tape and weave tools there.

I do the parts all at once. Normal rate for an eight-hour shift is 1200, but I can go up to 1800 in a day, going at a nice steady pace. Most days though, I go slow and relax, purposely only making 1300-1350 or so parts. It's just enough over the rate to get my incentive bonus. And thanks to being a "hard and fast" worker, the uppers leave me alone at my big table in the back.

They look the other way when I have an earbud in one ear, and they don't notice that I scroll through Reddit or read a lot.

Evil People Who Made History QuizShutterstock

15. That Deserves A Promotion!

My brother-in-law works for a commercial construction business. And one point he and a bunch of the workers had to strip the coating off a bunch of wiring because they needed to collect the copper inside. Everybody’s hand stripping the stuff, meanwhile my brother-in-law puts together a quick gadget. Now he just feeds in the wire, cranks the crank, and the wire gets stripped 50 times faster than by anyone else. His idea paid off.

His boss ended up promoting him that day. It wasn’t the first time he had done something like that, and I guess the boss decided to put somebody like that in charge.

Rich People Buy FactsFlickr

16. Calculators In Math Class?

I used to sit in math classes and write programs into the calculator for whatever it was we were learning. It helped me remember the formulas, but also meant I was 100% correct. My teacher didn’t like this for a quiz, so she gave me her own calculator to use. I remembered what the formula was and typed up the same program.

I finished second or third in my class, and when I was asked where my work was, I showed her I wrote up the same app from memory. I got a hundred on that quiz, and she never questioned me understanding the material again. It didn’t hurt that I wrote some programs that would help my teachers grade exams and stuff. I’m sure my high school still uses those programs.

Teachers Cheaters FactsNeedpix

17. Who Scans Quicker?

I worked in a library scanning incoming books into the system. This required a lot of transferring of piles of books from one station to another. My workmate constantly called me lazy because I would not get out of my chair while doing this job. I don't know how many times I had to explain that this is what wheely chairs are made for, and I was at least three times as fast as her at the same job.

Stupid hurtPexels

18. Flashy Fast-Food Signs

I used to animate graphics for those LED signs at certain popular fast-food chains. There would sometimes be a library of 80-120 short videos that needed to be resized or scaled down. I figured out how to make a system macro that memorized some of my mouse clicks and keyboard strokes, and it automated a previously four-hour task into something where I could hit one button and start sketching out ideas for other projects.

Petty Revenge factsPexels

19. The Weight Of The Work

At my last job, a truck suspension shop, we did inventory every December and it was someone's job to count all the washers and screws of every size. It was my first inventory and I casually mentioned that they should just weigh 10 screws or washers, then weigh them all and divide the weight to get the count. Everyone looked at me like I had given them the key to the universe.

Counting washers and screws went from a day or two, to just an hour.

Work Smart FactsFlickr, Tudor Barker

20. Gallons Of Tea

In my teens, I started working at a local grocery store and was hired in the deli and bakery departments. Every morning, one person made salads, two people brewed the fresh gallon sweet tea, and two people created and prepped the deli counter ready-to-go meals. One week, we had a bad flu case hit us and we were severely short on staff. But I knew exactly how to swing it.

I grabbed a grocery cart and started brewing tea. While it brewed, I made the salads. Instead of taking each gallon of tea to the other side of the store one at a time, I would place them in the grocery cart and continue brewing and stacking until the cart was full. Usually, by the time it was full, I was finished with all morning prep and was able to help the cook make breakfast and prep for lunch.

The manager saw this and turned it into my full job in the morning. Unfortunately for my co-workers, most were then let go. I only knew of one who was lucky enough to be moved to another job in the store. I ended up leaving shortly after.

Snobbiest Behavior factsShutterstock

21. Streamlined Testing

I was once set to test a certain piece of equipment on a ship. The test involved attaching the unit to a reader, then running loads of command-line commands. Then, one would have to make a copy of all the text, copy it into word, and save it as a real ugly report. There were hundreds of units, and they needed to be tested several times a year.

We did about 20 to 30 a day, and it would take several weeks to finish. I didn't know coding at the time, but always wanted to learn it. Within two months, I had made a program that could read three units at a time, automatically create a smooth pdf report, and save the report on our server, named with serial number and date.

The job was now to attach three units, then wait for about three minutes, detach, and attach new ones. Basically, I had 30 seconds of work, and three minutes of break. I could now test all the units in a day, though I would typically spread it out over a couple more days. When I left the company, I left the program on the test computer.

I got an email from an ex-colleague a few months later, saying they were using the program on several ships now. There wasn't any manual for the program, of course, but it was so straightforward that it wasn't needed.

Secrets FactsPikrepo

22. Was That Too Fast?

I was invited to my friend’s yearly apple picking—but my efficient method ruined all the fun. It was a full day of apples and kids and filling a truck for cider. I’m lazy and suggested we make the process more efficient with tarps on the ground. We managed the task in two hours when it historically took all day. We didn’t even get to the picnic lunch before finishing.

Basically, I completely ruined apple picking for the kids.

Work Smart FactsPxHere

23. The Budding Businessman

My brother gave my oldest nephew 10 dollars a week if he did all his chores without needing to be told or complaining. One day, my brother gets home early from work and sees the neighbor’s kid tossing a bag in the trash. He asks him what he’s doing, and the kid says he gets five bucks a week to take care of a few chores. My nephew outsourced his chores.

Nicest Thing Ever Done FactsShutterstock

24. Brain Over Brawn

Years ago, as a student, I got a job stocking shelves. The guys would carry the heavy boxes, place them on the floor, and then bend down every time in order to stock them on the shelves. As a light 100-pound woman, this task wrecked me physically. One day, I had an idea. I put the box on an old desk chair and rolled it around. No more carrying and no more bending!

Funny thing is, instead of doing the same thing, most of the guys called me lazy and kept carrying the heavy boxes just to prove how strong they were. Now they have special rolling carts to do the job.

Work Smart FactsShutterstock

25. A To-Do List

My boss put my name in for leading a project group shortly after I joined the company. I had no experience whatsoever in project managing, yet he still demanded that I lead the group of 12 people. These were way smarter guys with way more time at the company. However, I’m a business guy who’s too dumb for balance sheets which is why I’m in HR.

When we started the first meeting, I asked for everyone’s plan, experience, and ideas, gathered the different pros and cons, cross-checked with the budget we had, figured out a time frame with milestones to reach, and also put in people to consult at different steps. Why did I do that? Because I like organizing stuff and keep everyone on the same page and delegate to-dos. After the meeting, I got the shock of my career.

I got promoted because of the success of the project. I asked my boss why he put me in for it since I had never done anything like that before. He said it was because I complained in the first week that most of the work had a wonky structure, no clear guidelines, and could be improved heavily if we just put some time into it. In the long run, this would make us way more efficient, keeping everyone on the same page.

And it was all because I hated disorganized work.

Work Smart FactsUnsplash

26. No More Empty Tubes

Here’s an urban legend I heard once. There was a manufacturing plant that made toothpaste. One year, for some reason, there ended up being an unusually high number of empty boxes being shipped out. In order to stop that from happening, the head of the company hired a couple of engineers to develop a system to catch any empty boxes so they didn't get shipped with the boxes that actually had the toothpaste tubes in them.

The engineers developed a system that if the box weighed below a certain amount, the system would stop and a worker would have to go remove the box and start everything up again. The person in charge loved the idea and implemented it immediately. And right from the get-go, the number of empty boxes shipped dropped to near zero.

The head of the company wanted to go see the system in action, so he goes and visits the plant one day and notices a huge fan right by the assembly line. Very confused, he asked the plant manager why the fan was there. The plant manager said the workers were tired of stopping what they were doing to remove an empty box, so they just hooked up a fan to blow the empty boxes off the scale before the system recognized it was empty.

The laziness led to a more efficient and cost-effective plan.

Work Smart FactsPexels


27. Working The Warranty

I used to work in a camera store that sold warranties. No matter how the camera broke, they would fix it or replace it under the warranty. The only problem was that the store would ship off the camera to be repaired, sometimes for months, up to five times before replacing it. So, let's say your battery cover breaks off. You ship it off and six weeks later it's back.

But it's really a brand defect, so the cover pops off again. They won't replace the whole piece or give you another camera. You're out the camera for months while it's being fixed. They keep selling the defective camera and the warranties. I got tired of screwing over customers. I thought it was dishonest. However, I read the contract myself and found an interesting clause.

If the camera was so physically damaged that it was obvious it couldn't be fixed, we could take a picture of it and send that instead. The person immediately got a new camera. When people would come in with a camera with a defect I'd seen 100 times, I'd ask if they just wanted a new one. They'd say yes and I'd tell them to take it out into the parking lot and run over it with their car. I'd pile the pieces on the counter, take a picture, and give them their new, non-defective camera.

Work Smart FactsWikimedia Commons

28. Working Too Fast

I worked with a guy, Ethan, who was scapegoated for the failure of a project and was let go, but he was definitely capable. A year later, the company I worked for was sold off and eventually shuttered. While looking for new work, I spoke with a recruiter who had also worked with Ethan, and he mentioned how he was trying to find him a new position too.

The guy had a contract job to digitize and update old mechanical drawings to the company’s new software. Apparently, he wrote a bunch of macros, set up a workflow, and was able to complete the work within a month even though the contract was for six months. The company let him go since the work was done and had no intention of keeping him on.

HR NightmaresShutterstock

29. Mopping Up The Mess

I worked in a graphic design studio as an intern. They mostly had me practice and do some basic stuff their head designers were too busy to do. One was a real estate advertisement. It had a few basic templates, but it was all kinds of scatterbrained. I would spend five to ten minutes trying to find the right layer for all the pictures and had to mess with way too much.

I made copies of the files and made one for each template. I labeled everything, made it so the images on top of each other wouldn’t clip into the lower ones as the previous one did, and so on. You could now be in and out of the template in two to three minutes. I showed my boss the difference, and I relished his reaction. He had this face of “Well heck...”

He told me the next day that if I was a graduate, he’d hire me because I was better than the people sending applications in. I made an overly complicated and unorganized thing the opposite, and my boss was actually sad he couldn’t hire me.

Disastrous Job Interviews factsShutterstock

30. Cutting Whole Weeks

My first job out of college was an internship for video editing, and we had this convoluted process for editing a 30-60 second video so you could only do two a week. The major bottlenecks were getting approval on the graphics and exporting. We had a backlog of footage because they would have the talent shoot 30 segments at a time.

I spent a day getting all of the graphics done and approved at the same time, and then a day editing the actual videos. Instead of taking up office time sitting there watching something export, I let it go overnight for all the graphics, dropped them on all the footage the next morning, and set the final videos to export.

I let my manager know I'd be an hour late but have a few more done. I come back from lunch to the owner throwing a temper tantrum because it wasn't completed before lunch, and he was chewing my manager out. I quickly stepped in and said, "the first one was probably done, but I'll also have the next 2 months of videos done for you by the end of the day."

My manager immediately adopted that process for the whole team, and I got hired at the earliest opportunity the owner could find.

Work Smart FactsUnsplash

31. A Mathematician’s Origin

I heard that when Carl Friedrich Gauss, the famous German mathematician and physicist was in elementary school, his class was assigned the "busy work" task of adding all the numbers from one to a hundred. It was one plus two plus three, and so on until 100. This usually kept the class quiet for half an hour or so.

Seven-year-old Carl was sitting quietly with the correct answer while the rest of the class was just starting, so the surprised teacher asked him how he came up with the solution. He replied that he added one and 100 and got 101. Then he added two and 99, and got 101, three plus 98 and got 101, and so on. He realized there was a pattern of 50 pairs of numbers with each pair adding up to 101.

So, 50 times 101 was 5050, the correct answer.

Work Smart FactsWikimedia Commons

32. Tough Canadian Winters

I heard that every year in the Canadian winter, power lines would fail due to the weight of the snow. It took many days to build up enough to break a line, so they employed a team to walk the routes and shake the poles to loosen the snow. One day, they saw a bear shaking the poles and realized that if they could get the bear to do it, they wouldn't need to walk the route.

So, they gave one guy a bucket of honey and he'd walk the route painting the sides of the poles with honey to attract the bears. It worked for a few years, but this still takes a lot of time to do. Then they had the idea of flying a helicopter along the route with a trained professional who would shoot honey paintballs at all the poles.

On its maiden flight, the helicopter passed the lines. That's when they finally discovered the perfect solution: The downdraft caused by the helicopter blew away all of the snow. The flights still continue to this paintballs needed.

Work Smart FactsPixabay

33. DIY Deck Project

My brother-in-law spent a whole summer trying to figure out how to fix his sagging deck at the lake, which he wanted to crawl under and jack up. It would have been a tunneling project. It's a 60 by 60 area, all with long two by six boards. It was completely massive. I sat there long enough with enough drinks in me to come up with the idea of just cutting a square out of the sagging area, jacking it up, then re-screwing down the boards.

He paints the thing every spring with a roller anyhow, so it's not like the square cut shows up. He thought I was a genius, but I was just lazy.

Work Smart FactsPixabay

34. Parts For Planes

I worked for an aircraft manufacturer as a summer job at university. Parts would arrive, we'd open them, and key in all the part details into a terminal. That bit was terribly long-winded. I discovered the terminal keyboard had assignable shortcuts and set it up so that keying in an item was about six keystrokes. Saved me and my workmate hours every day, which we would spend pranking each other and other warehouse staff.

Work Smart FactsShutterstock

35. Max Speed Farming

Way back when Farmville was big on Facebook, you had to harvest these fields, and if you found a pineapple field, you could make bank. It was a grid of squares and you had to click each square to harvest it, and sometimes other players would jump in and start harvesting too. I wrote a macro so that when I found a full field to harvest, it would take the mouse cursor, move, and click every single square in the grid.

Once it was claimed, no one else could harvest it. It would click the entire grid in about 5 seconds, whereas if you were doing it manually, it would take you about 30 seconds. I've also used it for voting websites before they implemented measures to only allow one vote per IP address. You can do all sorts of things if you want to put in the time to perfect your script.

Work Smart FactsShutterstock

36. Moving Boulders

I learned that when Peter the Great was building St. Petersburg, there was a huge boulder that needed removing, as it was in the way of a road. Lots of contractors tendered for the job. They would use explosives to start, smash it into smaller pieces using sledgehammers, and then cart them away. A local peasant also put in an offer for half the price. They gave him the job—and they did not regret it.

He and a few friends dug a large hole next to it, took away the excess earth, tipped the boulder in, and covered it up with the remaining earth.

Peter the greatWikipedia

37. A New Kind Of Remote Work

I went out with some mates to watch the footy on a Saturday at the pub. Oddly, a friend turned up who previously said he was on-call and couldn’t come. He sat down with a full round, and then got his iPhone out. He was in the middle of a FaceTime call, but it was looking at a dashboard at his work. He was watching his factory’s dashboard for potential issues before anyone would need to call him about it.

For some reason, his company wouldn’t allow him remote access to view this information. The pub we were in was walking distance to his work, but that afternoon he didn’t, thankfully, need to go in to solve any issues.

Treat yourselfPexels

38. Easy Signatures

I didn't want to send hundreds of contracts to people so I used the bulk upload function on this e-signature provider. Signatures came back quickly, and people were amazed by the turnaround time. A former colleague took credit for all the lazy work I did, however. I already didn't like that jerk and it made me despise him even more. I’ve left that company since.

True Confessions factsPxHere

39. Saving Time And Water

The people who lived in our house for 17 years before us had a whole system for watering the lawn with faucet manifolds and a few timers. They had been dragging hoses and sprinklers around the yard for years, spring through autumn. They took almost all of it with them when they moved out. A couple of weeks into our first springtime, I realized that our previous homes with sprinkler systems made me lazy about lawn watering.

There was no way I was going to spend the time and energy to move hoses and sprinklers around all the time. We installed an in-ground sprinkler system ourselves that summer. I used only one model of sprinkler head for the whole system for easy maintenance. For the controller I use a Rachio that uses logic to minimize water use and avoid run-off from oversaturation.

It connects wirelessly to my network and is managed with a phone app. It also skips if there's rain and adjusts durations of each zone based on the weather. I set it to complete by sunrise and it adjusts its start times accordingly. Turn it on in spring, check coverage to make sure everything works right, turn it off and winterize in late fall. I don't think about it and my yard looks great.

Karma's a Witch FactsFlickr

40. I’ll Do It Myself

I worked as a manager for a fast-food chain. It was my job to keep the equipment clean and call an engineer for broken items. It was a fifty-plus list and took me forever to get through the list only to start again the next month. I then had the idea to give each staff member one job. I taught each member how to complete their task quickly and efficiently and report to me when done and if an engineer is needed.

Then, I handed the report over to a senior manager. After two months of this going amazing, I got bored so I looked into the needs of an engineer. I realized that if I ordered the parts, I could rectify the equipment myself. Lowered my maintenance work down to once a week or less and saved the company loads. It paid off in the best way possible. I got a great pay raise for a load of hard work, half of which I wasn't even doing.

Twin Stories FactsShutterstock

41. The Bare Minimum

I was a D student throughout most of high school. I’ve never had any intention of going to college, so there was never any real incentive to be outstanding in my classes. I sponge information pretty well, and I pay attention while the lessons are going on. With that, I passed and usually aced, almost every test I took in high school.

I did almost no homework, and at the end of the semester, I would look through the grade book to see what classes I was failing and what homework assignments I needed to do to pass. I would cram for about two weeks before grades were due and pass most of my classes. I also budgeted my credits. At my high school, you need 28.5 class credits to graduate.

Each semester of a class is worth half a credit. Long story short, while my classmates were graduating with 30-38 credits, I graduated with much fewer credits. C’s get degrees, and D’s get diplomas.

Cringe momentsShutterstock

42. The Navigator

A computer algorithm arranged my work driving route. It looked at the physical location on a grid without considering roads, rivers, etc. Just direct distance. It was godawful, lots of unnecessary cul-de-sac-ing, getting stuck on one-way trips with a ton of deadhead travel back, etc. There was no rhyme or reason, just a giant looping circuitous mess that drove past stops, returning to them later, and doubling back everywhere.

I spent the first weekend redoing it by hand, specifically to make it as efficient as possible so I could relax between stops to talk to clients casually or just sit in parking lots and do nothing. Before the pandemic added a bunch of new stops, I would take all the time I needed, a long lunch break, and still always made it to the drop-off ahead of schedule.

I'm exceptionally lazy. Past me did an hour of work on Google maps to save me hours and hours over the last two years.

Work Smart FactsShutterstock

43. Doors, Coming Through

Years ago, while working at my uncle's warehouse, there was a monthly shipment of double doors with the frame built in. These doors were so heavy that it was a five-to-six-man job to get them off the truck and walking them through a narrow enough hallway; this process could tank two hours of sales because the place had a crew of ten men and with six being needed, it was known to avoid shopping there on those days.

I have no idea how long they did this but on the second shipment when I started, I got one of those rolling boards that mechanics use to go under cars and told the guys to place it on top. I turned a six-man job of two hours into a two-man job that took 30 minutes.

Flirting or Being Friendly FactsShutterstock

44. A Little Extra Cash

When I quit a job over a decade ago, my terrible boss forgot to submit my termination form. I kept getting paid for over three months. And I was a manager, making pretty good coin. I knew they'd eventually catch it, and I thought they'd ask for the money back, so I banked every check and didn't spend a cent. The paychecks eventually stopped after a little more than three months.

I waited for the call or letter asking for the money. It never came. Two years later, I finally spent my spoils: I used the money to buy my hot tub. Now my butt gets massaged by bubbling water thanks to my incompetent ex-boss.

Messed Up As a Kid FactsPxfuel

45. I’m Done My Chores, I Swear

When I was a computer-savvy 11-year-old, I found a website that parents could set up as a reward system for children doing chores. The parent would set up an account listing several chores and assign them point values. The child, after completing these chores, could then use the points to buy various items offered on the website.

There was somehow no charge for any of the stuff. I created two e-mail accounts, two passwords on the site, and set up a really generous reward system where I got tons of points for doing imaginary chores. I used this to "buy" a load of Pokémon cards. I then played them with my grandpa because I didn't actually have a lot of friends.

Burst Out Laughing factsFlickr

46. Good, Lazy Work

I hired a kid at a pizza restaurant I ran because times were tough, and we needed staff desperately. The kid was the laziest and most shortcut-making employee, but never rude or slow. He was actually one of the customers’ highest-rated guys. I decided to humor him and give him free reign to reorganize the bar layout and a couple of systems.

It took him half an hour to reset every corner of the bar area with a written plan-o-gram for each section. Within the week, we were taking 135% of sales, and positive guest feedback was up 150% compared to week before. I left the company before him but heard he’d left shortly after me to do the same thing in a hardware store.

Work Smart FactsShutterstock

47. An Unexpected Tutor

At the start of lockdown, my nine-year-old son was having worksheets emailed to him for at-home completion. One day, I left him at the laptop doing his math homework while I made some dinner with my three-year-old daughter. Afterward, I walked back into the living room with his dinner—and made an unbelievable discovery. There was my son, shamelessly asking Alexa all of his math questions.

Work Smart FactsUnsplash

48. Lazy Automation

I worked as a laborer at a nursery one summer. Daily tasks included manually watering 15,000 plants every day. I put together a back-of-the-napkin plan to build an irrigation system and spent the next few weeks building it with some money from the boss. That system is still running 15 years later and does all the work now. But here's the problem.

I ended up automating myself out of the job and had to find another one. A couple of years later, I got my engineering degree. I’m convinced Engineers are inherently lazy people that will spend a disproportionate effort to make things easier.

Work Smart FactsFlickr

49. So Much Baggage

I work in the luggage claim department for a major airline. Every day, I get to hear customers yelling and complaining. All I had to do was borrow one of the wheelchairs from the airport and sit behind my desk. Problem solved! Customers who'd come in all angry would see me in the wheelchair and instantly felt pity for me. Was it wrong? Yes. Did I still do it? I'm ashamed to admit it, but yes.

All of a sudden, my horrible customers transformed into the nicest people. Physically my blood pressure has dropped and, in general, I'm in a pretty good mood most of the time now.

Work Smart FactsShutterstock

50. Ticketing Tuition

In undergrad, parking where you don't belong gets you a ticket. I ALWAYS parked where I didn't belong because everything else was taken, and these were right up close to my dorm or class. Unpaid tickets accumulate and are then applied to your tuition balance so that you must pay them before you can register for the next semester, or before you get your diploma, in the case of seniors.

But as a member of the honors college, I was on 100% tuition scholarship. As a result, the parking tickets were tacked onto my tuition, and then almost immediately wiped clean. They caught on about halfway through junior year, but by then I had literally wallpapered an entire wall of my room with over $2000 worth of blue parking tickets.

Customer Service FactsShutterstock

Sources: Reddit,

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