Working towards less work

One thing that I keep in the back of my head is how could I reduce the work I’m doing today. It sounds a bit strange, but to a large extent my work is there because the organisation has a need to fulfill. So, I wonder how could I solve that need to the point where I am not needed anymore.

Here is an example that came to my mind while I was on a group trip last week. We were six people and we didn’t have much of a plan, so we had to figure out things on the way. Things like: Where are we going today? What do we eat? When to wake up? Who takes the bill? Who goes to the store? And so on...

All good in the first two days, but then we got a bit tired of all the choosing and we naturally began to look for ways of defining some decision rules. One of them was related to paying the bill. We agreed to take turns when paying the bill and keeping the receipts. And then someone mentioned the Splitwise app that we could use to record our payments and keep track of who owes what. After we came so far, we decided that the one who owes the most picks up the next tab. So we got ourselves a process and a tool which have eliminated the “paying the bill” discussion.

If a “paying the bill” discussion would be part of my daily work, this solution would then eliminate a large extent of my work. That would allow me to focus on other things, maybe unexpected things to deal with, which would in turn increase my flexibility and drive to change.

Seeking solutions to reduce the current workload should be an important part of a sustainability strategy. We are often discussing how to be more proactive and anticipate the future as a way of getting prepared for the future. But how about reducing the work we are doing today and that we know all about, instead of investing that energy into trying to predict the future? It’s good to try to anticipate, but that doesn’t really mean you will be prepared. If instead you manage to free up your time and resources, then you can react quicker, be more adaptive and increase your agility.

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