books + reading

Lazy Genius Tips I Love

I recently read the book The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi. I’ve often heard about the author’s popular podcast, which talks about ways to be a genius about the things that matter to you and lazy about the things that don’t.

This isn’t the type of book I typically read cover to cover, but I did enjoy it, with some skimming. Adachi’s Lazy Genius principles are:

  1. Decide once.
  2. Start small.
  3. Ask the magic question.
  4. Live in the season.
  5. Build the right routines.
  6. Set house rules.
  7. Put everything in its place.
  8. Let people in.
  9. Batch it.
  10. Essentialize.
  11. Go in the right order.
  12. Schedule rest.
  13. Be kind to yourself.

Here are the tips that resonated most for me:

Decide once.

LOVE THIS. It’s the tip I heard about that got me curious about the Lazy Genius in the first place. In a nutshell, deciding once means you take a challenging choice and you make it one time – FOREVER. You can “decide once” when it comes to what to eat for breakfast, what to wear on Mondays, or what to cook when you’re having people over.

I love this concept the most when it comes to the kinds of things I agonize over – such as gifts. With the exception of the three humans I live with, I have NO idea what to buy people for presents. What do they have? What do they need? What do they NOT need?!

It’s too much.

With the practice of deciding once, I can decide one time – this Christmas – what our family does for teacher gifts during the holidays. I can decide one time what I buy for nieces and nephews for Christmas. ONE TIME – decided forever. Genius.

Put everything in its place.

This is not the first time I’ve heard this; it’s not new. But it’s huge and it’s important.

Everything should have a place, and in our house, there are many things that don’t. Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a purging/minimizing kick. It feels like a good time for it, at the beginning of the school year, as I clear out my school things and settle into an elementary school setting. (I definitely have items that I was saving for the time I worked with younger kids again!) I am trying to pace myself, since I really don’t have the bandwidth to do a full house purge right now. But as I clean and tidy, I am taking note of when I’m touching an item that’s not currently needed – and I am putting it in our Goodwill bag immediately. I’m also trying to clearly identify the items that are needed, but don’t yet have their specific “place” in our house, so that their place can be identified ASAP.

Ask the magic question.

What can I do now that will make things easier later?

That’s the magic question. This is hugely related to my plans for the fall for evening prep – things like laying out clothes the night before and packing lunches after dinner. Love it.


Name what matters. Get rid of what’s in the way of what matters. Make sure you have what you need to support what matters.

That is my general understanding of what it means to essentialize a la the Lazy Genius. Simple, easy, and makes a lot of sense to me.

Set house rules.

My two faves of the Lazy Genius principles are decide once and set house rules. A house rule is a decision you make about what your family does. “In our house, we clear our plates after we finish dinner.” “In our family, you can start playing a team sport when you’re five years old or older.” I love a house rule because it fixes a problem – “In our family, we put our bookbags on the shelf as soon as we get home so the floor isn’t cluttered” – and it creates a family culture – “In our house, the birthday boy gets the first piece of cake and gets to choose what we eat for dinner that night.” When I think about childhood memories of my own and family memories I want to create, many of them come back to a house rule – such as, in my family of origin, we took turns opening presents on Christmas morning, and we were expected to pay attention and provide “oohs” and “ahhs” while family members opened their gifts. LOVE a house rule.

Definitely loved these tips and principles and can’t wait to put some of them into practice. Cheers to being a lazy genius!

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