Making things easier
By Adrian Brown
Those of you who know me, know that I’m a great believer in doing things in the shortest, quickest, easiest way possible … ok, so I’m lazy!
I was teaching reframing recently on one of the NLP events and I often use the example of when I was working in finance and often sped their systems up. I can’t help but speed systems up, I just see all this unnecessary work and replace it with something simpler.
This is the thing, there’s always room for improvement. I was always astonished by the amount of wasted time in organisations due to poor systems.
My first experience of this truly shocked me. I was only 18 and didn’t know much about office life.
When I pointed out that photocopying a list would be far quicker than rewriting it, instead of being overwhelmed with praise for such a time saving idea, I was shouted down in no uncertain terms and told to keep quiet. I found that to be bizarre behaviour from people that complained there was never enough time.
People will defend their systems even when it’s obvious that they are out dated, slow or just plain don’t work. The question is, how many times in our own lives do we do that ourselves?
For me personally I can put my hands up and say in everyday life there’s so much stuff I do that could be done better. So how can we improve these things?
As Dr. Richard Bandler says, its all about attitude.
The attitude that you bring to your life can be one of constant improvement and the question “how can I make this better?”
Also it means change. And people don’t like change. Or do they? Let’s examine this one.
I once worked in a department that was pretty much up to date with their IT but just didn’t know about using their computers to full effect. They’d complain all day about how long it took to do particular jobs, but when I offered to show them an alternative way, already tried and tested at other places, I was looked at with resentment and contempt.
So on the monthly deadline day where we each had our tasks to complete, I was sitting completely finished in 1 hour when the rest took 5 hours.
How long do you think it took them before they wanted to know what I was doing differently from them? About 5 minutes.
After I’d finished I had a queue at my desk.
How long did it take to implement the change? About ten minutes. A quick demonstration of a software function that they’d seen but never bothered to find out about was all it took.
I once had the pleasure to work with a group of people who had this attitude and more. Whenever we hit a task that seemed like a lot of work we’d ask “does anyone have any idea how we can do this quicker?”. Guess what, someone would come up with an interesting approach or even ring someone they knew to find out.
Again, this is attitude, purely and simply.
Very often the words of wisdom would come from the most junior member of staff. Never underestimate the modern apprentice!
So, I invite you to have a look at your own personal systems and see if you can speed up the things you routinely do just by being curious about there possibly being a better way.
Where are you doing something in a particular way that has always been done that way?
Remember with advances in technology things can be done differently and more effectively. People find that they no longer need to see clients face to face when such things as skype are available.
1 Choose an area of your life that you want to optimise. Either speed it up or just do it better.
2 Look at how you “do” that side of things. What activities do you do, how do you do them, where do you do them?
3. Consider how other people do them? Who do you know that’s immensely good in this area? Google it.
4. Consider outsourcing all or part of it? Can someone else do it for you?
5. Make a list of all the potential ways it can be done, remember you don’t have to do any of them and some of the ideas will be unacceptable. Its just a list.
6 Notice that something on the list will appeal to you and try it out, you can always revert to the old way or come up with something even better.
If you take at least one thing from this article, I hope it’s the attitude to stand back and look at how you are doing things and ask “how can I do this more easily?”
All we’re doing is taking a few moments asking the unasked questions.
If you’re not sure if there is a better way, ask the laziest person you know how they’d do it. As a friend once told me “the laziest person always knows the shortcuts” … how true.
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