“The key to organizing an alternative society is to organize people around what they can do, and more importantly, what they want to do.” - Abbie Hoffman
With the entire world’s information available just a few keystrokes away, why is it still difficult for changes to occur in our society? Why does it seem like problems appear exponentially while solutions emerge one by one? What can be done to organize activities so that they run more efficiently and effectively?
What Is Efficiency?
Efficiency occurs when “time, effort, or cost is well-used for the intended task or purpose.” Or in Computer Science for data storage, it is the “ability to store and manage data that consume the least amount of space with little to no impact on performance” which results to lower operational costs, complexity and risks.
In addition to storage, efficiency is also necessary when developing efficient algorithms for software programs. There is usually a tradeoff between time (speed) and space (memory usage) when developing applications.
To clarify the definitions above, I will explain them using real world examples. How long does it take for you to get ready in the morning to go to work? How many tasks can you accomplish in one day? Let us imagine a way to minimize the length of time used (speed) and increase productivity (memory of tasks).
From pattern recognition, the world is complex because no two people have the same exact routines in the morning. However, everyone does have routines. Some routines lead us to do actions without thinking too much because we do them on autopilot. And there are some routines that are detrimental to efficiency. Why?
When we do tasks on autopilot, we tend to do them without taking into account whether there is a better way to do those tasks. Repeated tasks are also wasteful in terms of energy spent or functionality. In terms of emotions, are they not frustrating and boring?
Do you not notice that you start slowing down, instead of getting faster, when you become bored of an activity? There is a reason why the concept DRY or “don’t repeat yourself” exists. It is to prevent programs or people from staying stagnant and becoming slow doing grunt work.
In today’s ever evolving digital age, there is always going to be a better way to do something. There are applications that allow daily routines to be done more efficiently so you can focus on much more important and unique problems. Yet, even with all these tech gadgets, why is it difficult for some to catch up?
What Are Habits?
It is because humans are a weird species where some prefer to go against change and continue doing habits that are going against the natural flow. Why are habits tough to change? The answer is called memory allocation (space) or the way memories are organized in the mind.
The habit has taken up most of the recent memory space in the person’s mind that there is not enough room to create new patterns. It may also be the reason why the more people age (time), the more stubborn they become. When you observe, do you not notice that stubborn people tend to stick to the same patterns, become inflexible and talk about the same thing over and over again?
With no new activities, what else are they going to talk or think about? As you can tell, bad habits create off balance between time (age) and space (memory). It is up to you to determine those bad habits. Why? Shouldn’t you know yourself better than anyone else?
Once you know what those bad habits are, for efficiency’s sake, why not change them? Minimize the amount of time you spend doing tasks that have become bad routines and replace them with unique activities (functions) where you can learn something new? Do you not become excited when you try something new?
Don’t you learn faster when you are passionate about the tasks at hand? If you run a business then that means find individuals who love doing different things and let them do what they love to do. That way, they will be able to do the job quicker (time) and with more energy (memory to learn) so you can focus on what you love to do too.
With simplicity, priority and efficiency, have you thought of a better way to make complex problems simple? Hint: time, change and patterns – they are all different and yet are also the same.