Invest time now to save time later

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Anthony Pica
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Invest time now to save time later

Invest time now to save time later

As much as possible I try to save time. It's our most precious resource, after all. I've found that spending a little extra time upfront can save time in the end.

Here are three different kinds of examples to illustrate my point:

🌳 Example 1:

A large branch fell during a wicked storm last summer. It was resting atop my fence, halfway on my neighbor's yard, ready to crash down at any moment.

After the sky turned blue again, I walked to my neighbor's yard and together we sighed at the sight as I thought of this quote that's commonly attributed to Einstein:

"If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem, and 5 minutes thinking solutions." —Albert Einstein

I grabbed a rope, chainsaw, and ladder. And for nearly an hour we planned how we would bring down the branch, safely, without causing any damage to the fence.

In the moment, it felt like we were wasting time figuring out the angles and trying to anticipate how the branch would move.

But the branch came down precisely as planned in less than 10 minutes.

I attribute the hour of careful planning to our success.

If we had started right away to get it done faster, the branch probably would have fallen on my fence, costing me time and money to fix it.

📨 Example 2:

A couple of weeks ago I asked my co-worker to draft an email for our CEO, recapping an important discussion and outlining the next steps of our project. It probably took her ~45 minutes to write the email, and in the moment it might have seemed like a waste of time. But the project was so important I needed to be sure expectations were clear, and I wanted the CEO to have an opportunity to ask questions or pump the brakes. The time spent writing the email might have saved us heartache and many hours of course correction down the road.

👶 Example 3:

My son gets fussy when we try to change his clothes, so when it's bath night, my wife and I have a routine where we get everything ready before putting him into the tub: Get the bottle, pick out pajamas, find a towel, grab a toy, and get his diaper. Then GO, just like a NASCAR driver pulling into the pit to change tires and refuel in the blink of an eye.

When we organize everything before the bath, it's not as easy to get him ready for bed, he cries, and it takes longer for him to fall asleep.

Spending "extra" time upfront—to diagnose a problem, to set clear expectations in writing, or to organize a set of next actions—can save you time in the long run.

Taking a shortcut can lead you down a winding road of unexpected deters.

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