How To Do Tasks More Efficiently

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“Whenever there is a hard job to be done I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it.” — Walter Chrysler

Here’s my short-list of techniques I use for improving efficiency on a given task.

Summary of Ways to Do Tasks More Efficiently

Here are key ways to improve task efficiency:

  • Technique # 1 – Increase the frequency
  • Technique # 2 – Reduce friction
  • Technique # 3 – Model the best
  • Technique # 4 – Batch the tasks

Technique # 1 – Increase the frequency

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If I’m not efficient at something and I need to be, I start doing it more.  A lot more.  Frequency helps me get over resistance.  I also get more chances to learn little things each time that help me improve.

Technique # 2 – Reduce friction

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This is important and goes in hand with increasing the frequency.  When I do something more, I can quickly find the friction points.  For example, I was finding that pictures were piling up on my camera.  The problem was I needed my camera’s cradle to transfer my pictures.  When I got my new camera, I could transfer pictures through the memory disk without the cradle and the friction was gone.  It was a world of difference.  I pay attention to friction points now in all the recurring tasks I need to do.

Technique # 3 – Model the best

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If I look around, I can usually find somebody who’s doing what I want to do, better than I’m doing it.  I learn from them.  For example, when I was doing an improvement sprint on making videos, I learned from colleagues Jason Taylor, Alik Levin, and Alex Mackman, since they were all doing videos for some time and had lessons to share.

Technique # 4 –

Batch the tasks.
There’s two ways I batch tasks.  First, I gather enough so that when I do them, I’ll learn in a batch.  Second, I look for way to split the work and to batch the workstreams.  For example, when I was working on an improvement sprint for speech to text, I made very little progress if I tried to dictate and edit.  I made much more progress when I dictated in batch, and then edited in batch.  It was a simple shift in strategy, but made a world of difference.

While each technique is useful, I find I improve faster when I’m using them together.  It’s synergy in action, where the sum is better than the parts.

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