Go Slow to Go Fast

The concept is simple enough: Take the time to do something right the first time and you will inevitably complete the task faster and better than if you rushed it just to “get it done”.

I’ve been preaching this philosophy for many, many years now and it seems there is no end to the number of ways it can be used and implemented in your everyday professional and personal life.

How many times have you seen someone look like they’re going 100 mph to finish something only to find that they made 5 mistakes and did it so sloppy that it had to be done all over again anyway. The examples can range from laborious tasks at work to a child’s homework assignment. The philosophy still hold true.

Small Business Accounting

Do you know a small business owner who spends a ridiculous amount of time managing invoices, writing checks by hand and running to the bank every other day? I do. And I tell this person (who will know it is him if he reads this) that if he just took 1/2 a day to learn how to use an online billing system (such as FreshBooks) he could spend all those same hours focusing on things such as sales for his business or improving his quality of life. An online billing system could automate nearly 90% of his repetitive, everyday manual tasks and improve his level of service for his clients. Invoices, payments and year-end tax reports – handled at the click of a button. Client billing notifications and payment histories – automatically emailed. Accounts receivables and revenue reports – automatically tracked and accessible on a single screen. Not one trip to the bank. Not one check written. Not one invoice mailed through the post office. It goes on and on.

Yet, spending 1/2 a day to save literally hundreds of hours per year is too much trouble.

Computer File Backups

How many people do you know take the time to learn how to back up their computer files – and actually do it? With all the easy-to-use technology options available today ( Dropbox, CrashPlan, External Backup DrivesTime Machine, etc…) there’s really no reason why anyone should not be backing up their files some how, some way. Yet, there is usually only one sure way to get someone to start backing up and that’s when they’ve lost all or some important files.

The primary reason (excuse) people give for not backing up their files is “I don’t have the time to learn how to do that”. I could not help but hear that ringing in my ear when I was recently asked to spend several hours trying to recover some lost files for someone.

The conversation went something like this:

  • Person in need says: “My email says its database is corrupt.”
  • I say: “OK. We can first try to rebuild it and hopefully that will work. If not, the worst case scenario is that we may have to roll it back to one of your most recent backups.”
  • Person in needs says: “What back up?”
  • I say: “OK. We now have a new worst case scenario.”

Computers crash. They break. And files get corrupt. It’s a fact of life when working with computers.

Take the time to learn to back up your files and you will save you countless hours trying to recover or redo all the files you will inevitably loose.

Homework

I am a father of 2 boys. As a parent you are constantly trying to instill good habits in your children that will make them better people as they grow up. When it comes to homework, one of those habits we are working on is handwriting. I try to demonstrate how writing fast and sloppy will make their homework take twice as long for the following reasons:

  • Either my wife or myself will make them erase their work and write it again – neatly
  • They will have arrived at the wrong answer because they couldn’t read their own handwriting
  • It will appear to us or the teacher that they arrived at the wrong answer (even if they didn’t) – so they will have to redo the problem anyway

Software Development

In my position as Director of Creative Operations at Fusionapps, I am always getting on my soapbox to preach the importance of prototyping a software solution before investing hundreds of hours in developing it. It sounds logical enough, if you spend the time upfront to design and prototype a product – it can save you hundreds of hours re-architecting and recoding the software once it has been deployed. Yet, too often we see companies rushing to get a project into development before they even know if they have a good design – let alone a viable product. In fact, more often than not, a company will try to throw a kitchen sink full of features into the first release of a product without taking the time to learn if any of those features will be of any use to their users. A far better approach, which we employ at Fusionapps, is to quickly identify the features of a minimum viable product, design it, test it, measure it, build it, deploy it and then learn from it so you can make it better.

The Bottom Line

Most every task has a beginning and an end – and if you truly examine the full duration it takes to complete a task, more often than not, the task that was rushed will take longer and have a much worse end-result than the one that was done right.

So, “go slow to go fast” and spend a little time to save a lot of time.

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