It doesn't show up on the personnel department's hit parade of desirable attributes. It's never part of the job candidate's description in a help wanted ad. And our mothers were always against it.

In short, laziness gets no respect.

But maybe it should, when it is properly balanced with dedication.

This radical notion occurred to me when I was reading and writing about time management recently.

For those of us who vainly try to do everything asked of us--by others and ourselves as well--perhaps a more liberal dose of laziness would cause us to sort out our priorities better.

I'm sure laziness is one of the mothers of invention, too.

If the wheel was invented during the building of the pyramids, I doubt if the credit belongs to an M.B.A. from Pharaoh U. or an engineer from Thebes Tech. I think an overseer with "whip elbow" or one of the slaves pushing stone simply decided that there had to be an easier way.

What it took was somebody to balk at all the labor involved, then creativity took over. And soon the stones were being rolled along on logs.

The truth is, today a lot of us push our own kind of stones along our own kind of desert, without benefit of the logs that might be right at hand, instead of looking for a better way to apply our efforts.

Efforts per se don't matter. Results do. And the world is not merely divided into lazy good-for-nothings and diligent good-for-somethings.

There are diligent good-for-littles, too. And one of the best categories is the lazy-diligent . . . who can be good for lots.