10 Tips On Time Management From A Lazy Gunny


When was the last time you worked for an hour straight?

I mean really all out worked for an hour.

No email, no texts, no calls, no distractions.

What could a full hour or just 30 minutes of uninterrupted work do to your day?

What if you could be one of those people that seen to defy the laws of time?

You know the one, two things going on at once and it just doesn’t faze them, they act like they have all the time in the world.

While you’re over here pulling out your hair with only one project, wishing you could slow down time or eek out another few minutes from your day.

“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” –Thomas Edison

Well, it’s time to get a little more productive.

Now, I’m not talking about you working harder, I am sure you work pretty hard right now.

And honestly who the heck am I to tell you how hard you need to work, right?

No, this is all about working smarter.

In the Marine Corps the Gunnery Sergeant of our company was promoted and he moved to another unit. A Gunnery Sergeant (Gunny) is a senior ranking Marine who has at least 8 years of service under his or her belt. I had a boss who said that he wanted the laziest Gunny available. I heard this and I just had to ask why, because that just sounded counter intuitive.

Why the laziest? I would want the hardest working Marine I could get.

He said anyone who has made it to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant and remained lazy means that they know how to work smart. The main reason is they are truly accountable for their actions and the lives of Marines. A lazy Gunny is going to get the job done in the most efficient way possible so they can slack off for the rest of the day.

Work smarter, not harder.

So it’s time to be a lazy Gunny. Here are some tips to consider so you can get yourself some slack off time.

1. Never Touch Things Twice

Never save an email or a phone call to deal with later. As soon as something gets your attention you should act on it, pass it on or throw it away.

2. Get Ready for Tomorrow Before You Leave the Office

The lazy Gunny always made sure all the people working for him knew what to do in the morning. That way when he rolled in a few minutes late, nobody was sitting around waiting for instructions.

3. Eat That Frog

Do the least appetizing, most dreaded item on your list before you do anything else. After that, you’re freed up to tackle the stuff that excites and inspires you. Plus, you don’t have that big item looming over your head all day.

4. Know What is Truly Urgent

Lazy Gunny was really good at putting out fires. Well, not all fires, lots of those “super urgent needs to get done now” things would cross my desk or another capable Marines desk. Think of a fire like a match lying in the dirt. Something needs to happen, but nobody’s losing an eye over it.

The ones that would get Lazy Gunny out of his office were the ones that really mattered, the real urgent ones.

5. Stick to the Schedule During Meetings

Meetings are the biggest time waster there is. If it can be handled with a call or an email, do that instead. Invite only the people who are affected to a meeting if you truly need to hold a meeting.

And, do everyone a favor, if you say it going to take 30 minutes, only go 30 minutes. Never go over.

6. Say No

There were times that my boss would forget that he wanted a lazy Gunny. That meant when my boss would try to lighten his load by getting lazy gunny to do something, lazy Gunny would say “No”. Lazy Gunny would say No to a lot of things. The first time I heard it I was shocked, but he knew what he could take on, and what would not happen right if he took it on.

7. They Only Check E-mail At Designated Times

Come on, how many times do you check your email throughout the day? Those little notifications that are supposed to make our lives easier turn us into moths to the flame.

Don’t think so?

Go to a Starbucks and play a notification sound. Now marvel at the amount of people who pull their phones out of their pockets.

Break free from the email monster, just say no.

8. Don’t Multitask

Multitasking is a myth. Sure you can do ten things at one time, but not one of those ten things are you going to do just once. Plus, when you multitask a simple 5-minute project drags out to be a 20-minute project. Put you full attention on that 5-minute task and knock it down to 3- minutes.

9. Go off Grid

There was no such thing as smart phones when I knew lazy Gunny, but there was a door. When lazy Gunny’s door was closed it meant, “do not disturb”. You can get this affect by turning off your cell phone. Become unreachable for a small part of your day.

10. They Delegate

Any task that can be done by someone else should be delegated.

I don’t know how many times I heard another Gunny tell me that his job needs to be done by lazy Gunny, only to have that job passed on to me. I brought this to lazy Gunny’s attention once, he said that his job is to make sure it get’s done, my job is to do it.

There you go. A few simple tips I learned by working with a lazy Gunny. I hope this inspires you to get a bit more lazy at work.


  1. Hi Adam,
    A lazy Gunny?! This title sounds ironic to the fitting description of this personnel. From what I understand, the lazy gunny is the smart personnel who gets more done in just little time. All things that leads to time wastage are avoided or ignored.

    I guess everyone wanting to engage in solid time management has a lot to learn from the lazy Gunny.

    Management of time doesn’t mean working harder – even though this is part of it . It means ensuring that priorities are taken into consideration.

    Practically ensuring that tip number 3 – eat that frog is completely applied – will help ensuring effective and steady time management!
    Sunday William recently posted…What Quality Is BEST SALEABLE If You Plan To Sell Your Online Business?My Profile

    • Hello Sunday,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I was always in awe of people who had mastery over their time. I struggled with it for a very long time.

      Many people think that good time management is working harder, but working harder is not always the best use of time. You can work hard getting your camera set up and making the lighting right, but if you do that all day, you will be no closer to uploading your video.

      Adam D. Mason recently posted…You Don’t Know What You Don’t KnowMy Profile

  2. Hi Adam,
    These tips are truly time management tips. This is my first time of learning who the lazy gunny is! 😉 Its also interesting to know what he/she does in the military!

    Time management is crucial to success, and it is important to understand how it can be implemented with ease.

    Understanding what it urgent and implementing tactics that will save time is a welcome development anytime and any day.

    If you ask me, tip number four – know what is truly urgent is a very important tip!

    • Hello Sarah,

      I agree with you about tip number four. It was also the most difficult for me to get control of. There was a point where I became Pavlov’s dog. Every time my email dinged or my phone made a noise I stopped what I was doing to inspect the noise. I could be engrossed in writing the greatest thing ever and that darn thing would “ding” and I would turn my attention to some dumb email my spam filter should have stopped. Something that feels urgent at the time, like an email notification, is not at all urgent and that was difficult for me to understand.
      Knowing that urgency and really understanding what is and is not urgent may not feel like good time management when learning it, but I think it is where I save the most time in my day.

      Thank you for the excellent comment.
      Adam D. Mason recently posted…3 Excuses Keeping You From Making ContentMy Profile

  3. Every individual and business needs to keep tabs with time for success. Therefore, effective time management means successful business.
    The tips you on how to save time as discussed in this post are very clear and practical!

    For the best results, I will add that the individual must set definite goals and implement best practices to achieve the goal that has been set!

    I like the idea of what the “Lazy Gunny” stands for. He is a smart time management expert.

    Creativity is needed when applying smartness!

  4. Hi Adam,

    Great post. I can really relate to number 5 during my career of sticking to the schedule for meetings. I can’t remember the exact stats but my company shared a statistic of how much time unnecessary meetings and meetings not sticking to schedule cost the company in productivity. It was a surprisingly very large number.

    A tip that has helped me is there are times during meetings somebody would bring something up unrelated to the topic at hand and it would add to the meeting time. A simple way to handle this is say “Can we take this offline?”. This has saved a lot of unnecessary time in my meetings.