Everything you do could be done just a little bit better.
That statement may seem depressing to some but I find it empowering. Imagine making the tiniest of changes to how you complete a task. A change so small that you don’t even hardly notice that it has taken place. But repeated over time these small changes will totally transform your process into something new, and oftentimes unrecognizable from the point at which you began.
But before you make the change you’ll need to ensure that you already have a process in place. If you don’t have a consistent standard from which to measure then it will be impossible to tell whether the changes have helped at all. But what tasks require a developed procedure? A good rule of thumb is that any task you need to complete more than twice can benefit from a Standard Operating Procedure.
Another tool to be implemented is some form of logging or tracking system. We’ve all heard that “what gets measured gets managed” and when working to increase your output it is important that your work is logged so that any deviations from the norm can be tracked.
Some examples of performance logging:
- Tracking your workouts in order to see where you have improved
- Keeping a word log to see how much you have written in a period of time, and noting what conditions led to the greatest output
- Using an app such as FitDay to keep track of your calories consumed when trying to lose some weight
I won’t suggest any other apps as there are an infinite number available for every conceivable task. When in doubt I suggest getting yourself a nice Moleskine, paired with a Parker Jotter. Then you can customize your system to your hearts content.
With your standard operating procedure identified and a tracking system in place, you can now start to consider the pain points or bottlenecks you experience when performing that task, and test small changes to eliminate them. Maybe you can produce a greater word count at night, rather than in the morning. Perhaps buying a portable scanner will help you get your expense reports completed sooner (ask me how I know!)
The key is to standardize your system and have a tracking method in place so that the changes you make can be measured against the norm. You only need to raise the bar an inch at any one time. But repeated over weeks and years you’ll one day look back through your logs to discover that you’ve raised that bar up many feet from where you first started.
All the result of small incremental changes.