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Little jobs

There’s a lot to be said for batching – saving up similar jobs and then working through them efficiently in one go.

But doing little jobs in free moments – in checking-the-news moments, social media moments, junky youtube moments – has its benefits too:

  1. Doing little jobs can act like a form of mental keepy-uppy, keeping your head in the game and saving time when you come back to the larger job that the small job is part of;
  2. Ticking off small jobs makes you feel good – which helps you do better work;
  3. It may be less efficient than batching, but it reduces the cognitive and emotional friction that comes from carrying around a list of undone jobs – so the job might take a bit longer, but you’re faster once its done;
  4. If you’re a bottleneck for other peoples’ work, your little job can unlock a lot of productivity;
  5. Doing a job in the space between other stuff can create space for doing them in a new way, or for new connections between unrelated things – one of the benefits of having a little slack in the system.

You might even get a blog post out of it.

2 thoughts on “Little jobs”

  1. Thanks. I am very pro batching jobs and maximising efficiency. This is really helpful though, especially number 3 and yes, number 2, I have wondered whether this actually does make me more buoyant when tackling the big hairy problem. Everyone says do that first but it seems to take a lot of emotional energy for me to do that when I have so many little jobs lined up.

    1. Agreed – that feeling of momentum has a lot going for it, and if you’re working in a team number 4 is really important to your overall productivity, with multiplying effects on the emotional friction you’re dealing with… see tomorrow’s post!

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