Optimizing Your Workflow

        Workflow optimization makes your life easier and more enjoyable. By optimizing workflows, you can spend more time on tasks that matter to you and less time on ones that inconvenience you.

It's important to take a few hours every month to ask yourself:

        What am I spending my attention on each day? It should be possible to break down this answer into things that are the core of your work, tasks that benefit you or your work, and tasks that aren't helpful but are required nonetheless. This will mostly focus on that last category. Examples of this include password entries, caching, waiting, remembering links, data entry, etc.
        Among tasks that are required but unproductive, how much attention do you spend on them? How often do you have to do them? Pick the ones with the highest impact, in terms of how much they interrupt you and how much time and effort they take.

There's a few different ways you can address these problems:

  1. Make the task less frequent or no longer required. For example, if you have frequent password prompts on browser or command line, you could use a password manager. You can also batch tasks to reduce frequency, ex. by entering in all required passwords at the start of the day.
  2. Make the task easier. For example, if you frequently find yourself digging up links or files, you can keep a journal and put every important link and file you find in it. A journal works better than a folder or bookmarks because a simple ctrl+f will give you the link you need, instead of having to look around for that links. It can be helpful to set up journals for each project that you work on, so that you can quickly search the whole document and so your links don't get buried in a sea of old information. Another example would be creating an Arrangement in your command line application so that you open up multiple tabs at once, ex. one for the server opened to the server folder, one for the integration tests to run opened to the integration test folder, one to secure copy the integration tests to your mac so you can open them in a web browser. You can also create your own commands.
  3.  Make the task more enjoyable. I have a homepage that is filled with custom links that have colorful image icons for any link that I access on a daily basis. This includes links to each of my project-based journals.
  4. Make the task unnecessary. Often, this is a good choice when you're doing a task because of a technical issue with your computer or phone that you simply haven't gotten around to fixing. You can also do this by buying a solution of the shelf. For example, buying a docking station so you don't have to plug in cables, or buying an electric code lock for your front door so you don't have to take your keys out of your pocket. Don't spend so much time on this task that fixing the issue takes more effort than the actual issue does over its expected duration. Never spend ten hours fixing something that you only do once a week and that only takes a minute.

There are also many other ways to reduce daily annoyances and repetition than above. Be creative! The best thing about doing this process every once in a while is that your life will, generally, be more convenient and you'll spend less time on stressful tasks


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