Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Economy of Effort

Winston Churchill once ascribed his success to economy of effort. He advised not to stand when you can sit and not to sit when you can lie down.

Examples of that practice:

  • Taking naps. A mere 10 to 15 minutes can work wonders.

  • Putting your feet up. Bring back the foot rests.

  • Working in bed. Churchill had dispatch boxes. Similar ones can be purchased in fine office supply stores.

  • Dictating letters. I know there are mechanical options, but having a secretary who takes dictation is one of the joys of the world. I once worked in an organization with a telephonic dictation system that permitted me to dictate letters in the evening over the phone to a recording device. A late night secretarial pool would type them up and the copies would be on my desk in the morning.

  • Staff papers. Too much time is squandered in meetings on decisions that could be proposed in staff papers and circulated for comment before the decision packet goes - along with comments and recommendations - to the decision maker.

  • Any others?


Dan in Philly said...

When generating workpapers, take the time to make sure your sources are named, your work is clear, and your conclusions obivous. In this way, when challenged in the future, you won't have to reproduce your work to figure out what you did the first time. Furthermore, anyone consuming your work will be able to determine your approach without having to ask you, your work will stand on its own.

You will be amazed how much time this will save your future self.

Michael Wade said...


Good point!