Thursday, June 27, 2013

Workflow Economics (AoE Part 3)

Those days that seem to pass by in a flash or projects that take longer than normal can have the average bear postulating whether or not they're converging in and out of time distortions. "Where does the time go?" you say "How is it 4:00?" We all see the individuals who seem to just get things done and never break a sweat, while the rest are running around struggling to handle their daily tasks.

The name of the game is all about managing the flow of time. You have 24 gallons of time to start each day and it's up to you where the time goes. Don't let leaks steal pressure from what could be better focused on the task at hand. You can get everything done, it's just a matter of plugging the problems.
Group similar tasks together and do them all at once
Checking your email or pertinent message sites can be done at the same time. Make sure you check this stuff to respond to important messages and not to dick around. Checking sites like Facebook and Reddit doesn't need to happen 20 times a day. Wait for messages to accumulate and handle it all in one fell swoop. If you check it a lot, then that's where your time is leaking.

If you have a number of things to start and get approved, then do them all at once and send them in for approval. This will allow you to do other things while you wait, instead of spending the whole day sending and responding to each item. Also it allows others to save time as well, because they can send one email with all the feedback instead of 10 emails which is a big time waster.
Don't get stuck
When you're seriously stuck, the best thing to do is save it for later. Getting stuck means the brain is struggling to handle the task and wasting time not doing anything but getting mad. Don't expect to do your best work under these conditions. Make a note to come back to it later.

In contrast, if you're stuck because you don't know how to use your program, then it's very valuable to learn the skill you're missing. Google it and take the time now to fix the issue so you don't flop around in the future.Which brings me to my next point.
Know your program
The goal here is to get the program out of the way so you can freely create. This can be applied to all methods of art. Don't let your poor understanding of the method prevent you from expressing your ideas.

I like to use the actions tab in PS to minimize everything I do to one button. Setting up your workspace and programming your hot keys doesn't just save you from a sore arm, but it makes your actions as fast as your thoughts. When you notice you do something a lot, then it's time to quick key that bitch.
Take Breaks/Care of yourself
There's a reason we need to take breaks.  A clear mind works faster and better then a stress junkie. Your break needs to be something that gets your mind off of work. This way you can come back to your creation with fresh eyes.
Economy of Movement
This all breaks down to a simple principle I like to call Economy of Movement. The idea is easy: every movement you make must accomplish one or more things. The more things you accomplish with one movement the more efficient you are.

Example of clearing a table: One person runs back and forth grabbing one dish at a time to take it to the kitchen, while the other stacks the dishes together to take them all at once. They both did the same tasks, but one completed faster with no stress. First person did one task at a time, the other grouped similar tasks and did them all at once.

The point here is not to be a robot and constantly worry about wasted time. It's not even about being efficient. It's about being effective.  Whether it be stroke economics, workflow economics, or anything similar, to master these things is to become an effective stress free professional. One of those people you always see getting things done.

You wonder "How do they have time in the day?" as you break from your daydream to check your Facebook. You don't even notice you're knee deep in all that precious time you're wasting.

Thanks for reading my series on efficiency, hope it was helpful.

P.S. You should check this out if you want to know how you spend your time on the computer. Rescue time Robot (it's free)

No comments:

Post a Comment