Be Tough From Time to Time to Improve Your Process.

If you can do something the easy way or the hard way, why would you choose the hard way? While the easy way works in most cases, you may want to try the harder route from time to time to learn how to improve your process.

As Seth Godin, productivity writer, points out, artificially limiting yourself can help you identify your weaknesses and fix them. When you go back to the easy way of working, your process will be even better. Godin gives an example where Toyota removed surplus parts for the assembly process. Now, if some part was broken, it could not be simply replaced with another cheap one from the shelf:

It sounds crazy. Why would you need to remove the (relatively) cheap buffer over some additional detail? It turns out the answer is that without a buffer, you lowered the water level and you can see the rocks below. Without a buffer, each vendor had to dramatically improve their game. All of a sudden, the quality of the parts has gone up dramatically, which of course makes the assembly line run faster and each machine ends up performing better as well.

You can try this in your work or personal projects. If you are used to drawing something on your computer, try doing it manually, where you cannot press Ctrl-Z. If you usually use software to automate a task, do it tediously for a while to see if you can spot any flaws when you get to this point. You don’t have to do something complex all the time (and ideally not when you’re short on time), but removing the simple mode buffer from time to time can help you improve your process.

What’s at the bottom of the river? | Seth Godin


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