I feel like there’s just not enough time to do everything I want to do. I think many of you can relate. People want to be more productive in general. However much of the day is wasted in such unnoticeable ways. Also, some work rituals we cling to because of pure dogma not realizing it can be improved or streamlined.

For example, for years I clung to the ritual of paying my bills by writing physical checks. I liked going through the process because it felt like I was paying more attention to my finances by doing so. When I finally awakened to paying my bills online and even setting the recurring payments to autopay – it was amazing. You don’t have to pay attention to it anymore. It’s always good to every once in a while make sure you are not being billed for anything you didn’t want but in general, setting this and forgetting this task is an overal productivity plus.

As part of my work, I design a lot. I can spend hours on Photoshop. One thing I started to finally notice after years of using Photoshop was that I kept doing a certain task a lot. I would copy a Layer Style of one design element and apply it to another. This would take several clicks – Right clicking on the element I liked and click on the menu item. Then I had to right click the new element and apply that style. There weren’t any shortcut keys, or at least none that I saw. It dawned on me that it was so inefficient and time consuming and that there had to be a better way.

I finally started researching this and found that you can create your own shortcut keys and I did so. Now I can do the same set of routine tasks that would take at least 4 steps and reduced them to 2.

Of course not everyone uses Photoshop but if you generalize this lesson, you have to be aware of the things you do. You have to be critical of all the steps you take to accomplish a task. Ask yourself, can this be simplified, reduced or automated in any way. Can you systematize this. Even better, can you remove yourself from the steps. I’ve really started to think about this and it has helped streamline my day and focus on the things I have to focus on.

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