As the title suggests, part of your problem with efficiency may simply be that you wait too long to ask for help, if you ask at all. If you are indeed productive but just not efficient, it is the former. If you just refuse to ask for help ever and thereby sabotage the end result and just say, ‘Screw it’, you simply need to grow up.
I don’t have a blog for that. But do it. For real.
Back to those of us who EVENTUALLY ask for help, stop waiting. This is one of the key factors in improving my efficiency to date. Now of course, I have not arrived, but when I simply ask Google AS SOON AS I get stuck, I save tine. LOTS of time. Sometimes hours.
Here’s the deal:
It is a common problem to not ask for help. The old situation comedy plot where the woman wants to ask for directions and her beau is swallowed by maps he cannot read. They usually get WAY off course. The kid who fails in school because he doesn’t want to raise his hand and simply ask for further explanation of a concept. The fashion risk you shouldn’t have taken but you didn’t want to spoil your big reveal by getting a second opinion.
We’ve all been there before. Scientific American says so, and they attribute the reason for people not asking for help to not wanting to appear incompetent to others.
Apparently that applies to entrepreneurs and solo-professionals working alone in the middle of the night, too. That’s right, you’re such a smarty pants you don’t want to appear incompetent to yourself.
Even when there is no one to ask but the internet, people STILL don’t do it until after they have strained their brains trying to figure things out for themselves. Well, at least that’s my story. For some reason, it used to make me feel stupid to not know all the answers. I also have this thing for puzzles. Life is a Rubic’s Cube, and I want to solve it myself, no cheats.
Yeah, I know that’s actually kinda crazy. Stay with me here.
In the fight for efficiency, I finally decided to do the opposite of everything I would normally do and see what happened. This includes, in particular, asking Google every time I get stuck coding. Or need to think of just the right synonym for a word I have used too many times. Or when I want to know how to create a specific effect in Photoshop. I would normally stress myself out trying to figure it out for myself. Sometimes I actually achieve my goal, but at the expense of precious, precious time. Sometimes I burn out and end up having to go to Google and search for an answer anyway.
After I’ve lost hours being a know-it-all jerk.
You can improve your efficiency IMMEDIATELY by simply asking questions as soon as they arise. It may feel icky at first, but you are actually smarter for being efficient and drawing on the resources available to you than you are for solving the puzzle for yourself. If you meet someone and they tell you they do “research” for a living, do you assume they’re a lazy idiot? Quite the contrary; you probably assume they’re an egghead. That’s because research is SMART, not a weakness of the unlearned or untalented. It is actually SMARTER for you to find the answers you need quickly through research instead of wasting time mulling over something that is beyond you at the moment. And chances are, you’re not the first person with who got stuck in that exact same place, so the answer is online just waiting to be read.
Stop struggling with the problem and ask Google already.
Go ahead, ask away; it’s alright. Stop waiting for the thing on your foot to turn green before you call a doctor. At least call Dr. Google and see if someone else has that same green thing on their foot. Stop feeling like an idiot because you can’t figure out the answer and being one because you won’t ask.
It’s just inefficient.