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Posts Tagged ‘efficiency’

Multi-Tasking

Posted by remistevens on December 16, 2009

Alright, I know some people preach this as the greatest upgrade in efficiency since the mechanical man. Multitasking is pretty fantastic, but its position in the hierarchy of efficiency must be considered. If you multi-task poorly, you risk doing a crappy job of any of your particular tasks. But more importantly, poor multitasking can interfere with your efficiency and lengthen the time it takes to finish.

Walking Vending Machines!


Not sure if the coke vending robot is real, but It makes sense to me that the first robot walking on the streets would be a vending machine. Either vending machines or meter maids, they’ve both been on the streets for years just waiting to get mobile.


Wait, multi-tasking. Example: You need to make a call, clean some dishes and make a pizza. The call will take 15min, the dishes will take 30mins and the pizza with preparation time will take 60min. So long as making the call and washing the dishes don’t cause you to spend more than 60min overall, multitasking is welcomed. The trick is to finish the time crucial elements of the longest task immediately as they come up. Prep and ovenize the pizza, wash the dishes during cooking, make the call during dishes, pull the pizza out to cool at the 55min mark, eat on schedule. Sure you’re switching gears and that’s inadvisable, but in the pizza scenario it can be done safely and responsibly. The idiot who finishes up the call and the dishes first realizes he’s still got to wait another hour until he eats!

Computer ‘multitasking, you’re checking email while listening to music and downloading 30 movies. But, a computer is only ever actually able to do one thing at a time, it just goes back and forth between tasks so fast you can’t tell. Multiple processor computers are multitasking i suppose, but each processor only ever handles a single string of ones and zeros. Its all just switches people, everything in the digital world is made up of switches no more complex than the one you use to turn on the bathroom light. The monitor asks the processor to flip 2 million switches so it can display a pic of a rose, the mouse is asking for 60000 bathroom switches to be thrown so a right click can be registered, it goes on and on. . . .The processor’s inbox is a scattered mess, but it still doesn’t ever flip more than a single switch at once. Computers do not multi-task, they just switch gears unbelievably fast and efficiently.

Human Multitasking; are you really multing your tasks? Isn’t every task really getting done in a new manner and therefore being something other than what you’d initially set out to do? I mean, if you were to multi-task trampolining with going to the toilet, the two tasks intercede and you end up with an entirely new behaviour that is more than the sum of the two. The term works, sure, you are doing ‘multiple’ things. Not only that, both of the initial objectives are completed, you really did both jump and poop. But be careful, the tasks themselves change when you multi-task. Getting it all over yourself isn’t a common objective for going to the bathroom, nor is this standard trampolining procedure. To ensure he’s doing what he set out to do, a good multi-tasker must differentiate good and bad combinations.

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Avoid Switching Gears

Posted by remistevens on August 26, 2009

Whatever it is you do and are doing, its important to keep the task at hand at hand. Cooking a burger? You cook the first side fully, then do one necessary gear switch and flip the patty. Finish the second side and remove it from the heat. Only one gear switch, otherwise it comes out dry and shitty. Don’t waste time standing over a hot bbq wrecking your dinner.

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Cleaning your filthy place? Clean up all the garbage first. Don’t stop to sort CDs. Don’t stop to clear the dishes. Pick up garbage! Do it til its done, then move on to something else and complete it all in one shot. This is the most efficient way to do most everything- especially menial tasks. Think about it; there is prep time, task learning time, closing time. Take vacuuming for instance, you need to get the vacuum out, you need get into vacuuming mode, you need to finally put it away. Granted prep and learning times on something simple like vacuuming are pretty short, but its still wasted time. You should only ever turn your vacuum on once per cleaning.

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Its a guarantee that you will be able to do something more quickly while in the process of doing it than at the start of performing the task. It’s kinetics, that’s physics, so its right. Ever seen a person in a textiles factory do a stitch? They get so fast because they groove down into heavy repetition. When you’re moving, you’re moving. Stick to what you’re doing and you get fast, use that incremental fastness to stretch your efficiency towards achieving completion.

As long as you’re not working to the point where you have exhausted your muscles, you’ll get the best efficiency from backbreaking repetition. Its just like the gears in your car. If you need to maintain a speed of 75kph you don’t keep switching back and forth between third and fourth. You pick one and stick with it.

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Do things in one shot, don’t waste time restarting the same tasks. How many times do you want to do dishes this week? I’m going to do them only once and spend far less time overall engaged in dish washing. . . .hmmmm, I wonder what level of extreme efficiency i could reach if i did them only once a month? . . . . …

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