The Myth of Low-Hanging Fruit

In work and productivity, the term “easy” is often thrown around carelessly. It’s a word people use to describe tasks they haven’t done themselves, jobs they haven’t experienced firsthand. But here’s a simple rule: If you haven’t done the job, you can’t call it easy.

Understanding the Context

Labelling it as ‘ easy ‘ is a gross oversimplification because without the context and understanding of the underlying assumptions and the intricacies involved in pulling off a task. It’s a dismissal of the effort, skill, and knowledge required to accomplish the task.

The Myth of Low-Hanging Fruit

This brings us to another commonly used phrase: “low-hanging fruit.” It’s a term often used to describe tasks that are supposedly easy to accomplish, tasks that others are expected to harvest. But is there such a thing as low-hanging fruit?

What appears as low-hanging fruit might not be as easy to harvest as you think. Harvesting might require a specific skill set, experience, or tool. Or perhaps, the fruit is not as ripe as it appears, and harvesting it prematurely could lead to subpar results.

Questioning Assumptions

So, the next time you’re tempted to label a task as ‘easy’ or identify a goal as ‘low-hanging fruit,’ take a moment to consider the context. Have you done the job before? Do you fully understand what’s involved? Are you making assumptions based on incomplete information?

Remember, every job has its challenges, and every task requires effort. What may seem easy from the outside may not be so simple when you’re the one doing it. And what appears to be low-hanging fruit may require more than just reaching out and grabbing it.

The Value of Understanding

Ultimately, it’s not about finding the easiest tasks or the lowest-hanging fruits. It’s about understanding the complexities of each task, appreciating the effort required, and acknowledging that there’s no shortcut to doing the work.

Explore More

If you enjoyed this and want to dive deeper into the topic, here are some additional resources you might find interesting:

  • 📚 Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass Sunstein explores the concept of ‘noise’ as an overlooked problem in organizations that leads to poor judgments. The book emphasizes that to understand errors in judgment, we must understand bias and noise, and it provides strategies for reducing noise, such as performing Noise Audits and applying principles of decision hygiene.
  • 📚 A new way to Think by Roger L Martin presents new ways to think about everyday business situations, challenging outdated models that shape nearly everything we do in business. The book emphasizes the importance of understanding the complexities of tasks and decisions, and it encourages readers to question their assumptions and take ownership of their models to become more effective managers.
  • 📝 The Efficiency-Destroying Magic of Tidying Up by Florent Crivello challenges the notion of orderliness as a measure of efficiency, arguing that what appears chaotic may be a complex system optimized for performance from the user’s perspective. Crivello suggests that attempts to impose order on such systems, whether cities, corporate processes, or project management, often overlook the underlying structure and constraints that have shaped the system’s current state, leading to a loss of efficiency.


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