Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Art of Spending More Time Doing Less

Sitting with a freshly ground, newly brewed cup of coffee in my metaphorical hand — no way I'm actually going to hold the cup, the memory of Oaky still burns too fresh — and thinking slightly about the week that has passed way too quickly. In terms of my own perspective of the passing of time at least. It hasn't actually passed at a rate any slower or faster than usually, or that couldn't be predicted to a certain extent by the observation of our universe.

Yeah, okay.. that rabbit hole went I bit further than I would have expected.


Coffee. Hand. Laptop. Last week. Yes, last week. I have been completely cigarette-free since last Sunday (23rd of September). And counting. Since I started smoking, roughly 12 years ago, I have smoked about a pack a day and I have only ever once been without cigarettes this long. And that time I was heavily medicated and under intravenous painkillers, so in all fairness.. it doesn't really count as being cigarette-free if you're getting better, more addictive shit. So far, so good and that is all I will say about it. Not for any fear of jinxing it but rather that the craving is more as I think/write about it. So I simply wont. Focus, clarity and other words than sounds like buzzwords until you manage to get your mind into those states.

The company I work for/at/with.. under? is moving office and come this Monday it will be interesting to see how much they have managed to get sorted over the weekend. And because of the move everything was chaotic yesterday, to the point of no one really getting any work done and only some actually even trying. I was one of the people not really trying.

Now, I imagine what you might be thinking. Well, depending on if your my boss and reading this — whilst very possible, highly improbable — or if your simply a friend of mine back in Finland (or Sweden). If you're the latter, "Hey, how nice of you to drop by!".

And for the former. Chill dude, I didn't actually sit and roll my thumbs an entire day — I get bored too easily to do that — No, what I did was something I wish was endorsed more than I at times feel it is. Now I am not pointing any fingers at my current employer simply because I am not actually 100% sure what their policy is, but for for those of you who don't subscribe to this particular train of logic. Allow me to explain. I call it proactive labour. I am sure I am not the first to coin this term or even think about this, but since I have never read about it anywhere that I can recall I am now freely going to assume I am the first. Until proven otherwise of course.

Proactive labour — or lazy people aren't lazy but effective and inventive — at its core is very simple. Mind you, not necessarily easy but very simple. It all stems from a single point of thought;

"Why spend less time doing more when you could spend more time doing less?".

And I will gladly illustrate what I mean. Imagine you are facing a problem, possible a problem you will end up facing more times than one. Now it seems to me, most people will rather solve it in 3 hours the first time and 2 hours every consecutive time. I don't. When facing a problem that may or may not recurring I want to (and for the most part do) go for analysing the shit out of it and solving it in 6 hours the first time. So far, so bad, right? Well, yes. But because I have taken the time and considerable effort to understand the problem in a much more fundamental way, every time the problem recurs, I solve it in 1 hour. You do the math and then tell me which method is more cost-effective and productive in a fiscal year.

That's what I thought.

Again. I am not pointing any fingers at my current employer but more at the general attitude amongst many employers. An expression I have heard too many times is "You're over-thinking it". To which my answer from now on will be "Yes, so that next time I won't have to".

For simple clarification as to how I practically spent my time at work yesterday — since I didn't actually get to that part yet — I basically spent my time creating a project template to remove all the redundant steps I have to do every time I start a new website design. Such as creating and consistently naming folders to keep projects organised. Does this take a long time in itself? Well, no. But it takes long enough and requires enough brain effort that I thought it was best to delegate this action to a .bat file instead. Why should I remember the names and structure of all the folders and files I need every time I start a new project, when a .bat file could do it for me.

So, I created a template folder (that can evolve as needed) with all the necessary files and my own css grid template, js libraries, etc.

I have taken something that in total can take anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours and condensed it into ~10 seconds.

Now I honestly don't think this is very mind-blowing. A part of me thinks it's quite crude in its simplicity, though I suppose that's part of its charm. No, the question becomes, "Why is there not already such a .bat file or similar time-saving device?" Why?