“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.
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.
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.
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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