It’s not like they were born efficient. They have learned these ways. I haven’t heard of any efficiency courses where all these tricks are taught, nor a manual that summarizes them, so they must have learned them along the way. What prompted them to learn efficiencies? Because, when they were doing something tedious or long, they thought “there has got to be an easier way.”
Some things I can’t bear to do manually:
- Coding a manuscript
- Copying art insert lines from a manuscript into a separate art manuscript
- Navigating a menu three layers deep for a repeated task
- Tracking time for invoices
- Sending email to a whole list of subscribers
- Accepting or rejecting every individual tracked change
- Typing out my own long name and email address on every form and file, with inevitable typos
- Coming up with individualized quotes on every new editing assignment
- Calculating what a certain market will pay for editing
- Formatting references
There has got to be an easier way
These are all things that can eat up acres of my day, if I keep brute-forcing them, slowly, manually, laboriously. Some of them are so laborious that I don’t even want to brute-force them a single time.
I can’t imagine that all efficient people are lazy, but this is the root of it for me. Why should I be working so hard? There has got to be a better way. I will spend an hour figuring out how to never have to spend 10 minutes on a task again. This has led me to
- macros, widgets, apps, and plug-ins,
- custom dictionaries,
- text expanders,
- MailChimp, Google Survey, and Google Analytics,
- PDF markup, and
- every other tech trick in this How To column.
So, next time you are agonizing over a tedious job, remember: there has got to be an easier way.
Ask your network how to make the task easier. Google for a solution. And if you don’t find one, either make your own or remember to ask again in a few months. I did, and I’ll share my latest greatest efficiency tip in the Aug–Sept 2017 Copyediting Newsletter. Spoiler: it’s a dead-simple, automated way to track changes in PowerPoint files.