I heard this speech of one startup founder who set out to apply machine learning algorithms to web development, basically teaching the code to write more code according to existing patterns. I know this isn’t a new thing and there are multiple ventures currently competing in this niche, the article is not really about the software.
The speaker, Matt, came up with an excellent analogy during the presentation.
He talked about cars before Henry Ford – how you had these clunkers, the first cars that were designed and built on an individual basis. They were beautiful things, but incredibly inefficiently produced and hard to maintain or repair.
Every car was essentially custom-made. They would all be comprised of different parts that people had access to in that particular garage at that particular time, with stuff shipped around between multiple manufactures they had agreements with. It had no rhythm to it, the process would often be different with for next car that came along.
Essentially they rebuilt and reinvented the car every time they’ve made one. That took a lot of time and effort.
Then Ford came along, and, well, you know the rest of the story – he brought in conveyors where you would have an incredibly specific process of building a certain type of car, it all followed a direct pattern. With the assembly lines we actually had something to predict and replicate with ease. You could reliably bring these beautiful things into the world and make them affordable.
After hearing Matt’s analogy I tried to decipher and adapt this process of automation to my daily life, with a different spin. It’s kind of how I organize my own life, wrapped in a helpful analogy.
– Choose a direction.
Where you want to be, what you want to do, some people would call this a mission, others a purpose, yet others a goal. I think a direction fits best here. Pick where you wanna be going, everything else will align.
This is how you know the kind of car to built – what kind of conveyor we want set up, the amount of focus to apply to different parts of the assembly line.
– Make a pattern out of learning new things.
Mine looks like this:
Justify the Need –> Absorb the Information –> Apply in Practice –> Review and Repeat.
This way you can put learning on a conveyor – streamline the improvements in the structure/scope. This is a meta thing. You have the conveyor for all the conveyor parts you’ll be using throughout the process.
– Find the best technology for everything you want to be good at.
There’s a joke about there being an app for everything. Looking at my phone right now:
Checklisting app, E-mail automation, scheduling app, repeat grocery orders, exercise tracking, marketing automation, analytics highlighting…
The list goes on – those would be the workers that assemble your car and put it together. Some training will be required, but it’ll set you up to be a lot more productive.
– Always know what’s going on
Some would call this mindfulness. There’s nothing bad about the word, but I hate what some goopy semi-mystical life coaches have done to this poor set of syllables. Don’t worry, though, I have a replacement for this framework.
You go around that manufacturing place of yours and make sure that all them workers are in the right places automating the right process. You’re the one managing yourself, in this framework.
– Get Proactive
As a manager, you don’t get to slack off, you only get to rest easy if everything’s in working order and nothing breaks.
So don’ t be a slave to solving crises.
You can see the stuff that isn’t working way in advance. There may be a loose belt or a fire hazard or something. You don’t wait until it blows in your face, unless you’re some kind of masochist who is only good at crisis management. Even if you are, it’s not a reason to sabotage your own production. Keep the process in check.
– Make Agreements and Build Relationships
This is something very fundamental for personal productivity and efficiency, yet I see so few people talking about this. Hey, did you know that married men on average earn higher salaries than their single counterparts of the same age? Look this up.
Promises and other people’s expectations are a foundation for our efficiency.
This doesn’t have to be romantic relationships at all. It can be promises to your clients, agreements with your friends, whatever you voluntarily (that’s the key here) sign up for in front of other people, you’ll be much more likely to actually accomplish.
So there you have it. With some conscious work and implementation, these ideas will definitely manufacture results at an incredible pace.