Get More Done with DRY

January 19, 2022

Consider your daily activities for a moment. Whether you work in an office or from home, I'm sure many of these are going to be repetitive and time-consuming.

Is there, however, a method to lessen this burden so that you can be productive rather than busy?

Fortunately, there are various options available to you. The Eisenhower Matrix and the Pareto Principle are two examples. Have you tried the DRY Principle, though?

How does DRY work and what is DRY?

In 1999, Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas invented the term "don't repeat yourself" in their book The Pragmatic Programmer. "Every piece of knowledge within a system must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation," they write.

DRY is a software engineering strategy for eliminating code duplication. When possible, coders use a single, reusable source, sometimes known as a "snippet," to simplify their work. Don't repeat yourself, thus the name.

In addition to saving time, writing the same thing numerous times reduces the chance of human mistake. After all, if you make a mistake once, you're likely to do it again. Plus, you only have to do this once if you decide to make any modifications.

The bottom line is that fewer lines of code are better. It helps you save time and energy. It's a lot simpler to keep up with. It also decreases the possibility of bugs.

While the DRY Principle was created for software development, it may be applied to a variety of situations. How many emails do you send and receive on a daily basis, for example?

With each email, you're basically replicating the same framework with slightly modified language. And when your schedule is already full, this may be really inconvenient.

DRY asks you to keep track of each and every activity you perform during the day. In order to achieve this criteria, you might add tasks from the following categories:

  • Unexpected incidents, such as a client's phone call or an urgent communication from a coworker.
  • Obligations such as annual reports and one-on-one meetings with team members are due on a monthly and annual basis.
  • Routines and main priorities on a daily basis.

You can identify which ones correspond to the DRY Principle after you've gathered this list. Take note of how repetitious, time-consuming, and daunting each one is, and then cross them off your list.

You can automate as many of these as feasible if the top candidates are DRY Principle qualifiers.

You won't be able to automate all of the tasks in every scenario. Certain aspects, on the other hand, may be streamlined.

Where do you find yourself repeating yourself?

Have you tried a time management system like Getting Things Done (GTD)? If that's the case, the DRY Principle should be simple to grasp since they both follow a similar procedure. DRY, on the other hand, tries to eliminate duplicate procedures.

Keep a daily notebook for at least a week to get started. Then, for a month or two, keep track of your time to get a more accurate picture. This enables you to keep track of your daily duties. However, this should also assist you in identifying less common instances.

Here are some helpful hints for keeping track of your time:

  • Unplanned or unscheduled duties, such as replying to a client's email, should be included.
  • Keep track of your responsibilities on a monthly and yearly basis. Quarterly reports, audits, billing, and technical upkeep are just a few examples.
  • To fill up any gaps, ask people what their regular duties are.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of your responsibilities. The next step is to figure out which jobs are most suited to DRY.

You can accomplish this with whichever task-tracking software you use. In your to-do list or time-tracking tool, for example, you may add tags or labels for each category. The categories may then be added to a spreadsheet as columns.

You may even write them down using a pen and paper if you want to go old school.

Focus on the related categories to make this procedure simpler:

  • Points of discomfort. These are the activities that you detest so much that you put off doing them.
  • Bottlenecks. Which chores are causing the remainder of your day to drag?
  • Tasks that take a long time to complete. Examine your time-tracking data to see which tasks take up the majority of your time.
  • Work that is repetitive. Which chores do you find yourself repeating over and time again?

You can now discover which activities are ideal for DRY as a consequence of classifying your jobs. DRY is more likely to help jobs that are repetitive.

You may cross off repeating chores from your to-do list if they aren't critical, allowing you to concentrate on what matters.

Make a template

You can now figure out how to stop repeating yourself after you've discovered where you're doing it. And, maybe most importantly, templates are a great place to start.

Templates are often blank documents that must be filled up. You may either make one from scratch or use one that has already been created.

Regardless, templates will save you time since you won't have to create emails, invoices, or calendars on a daily basis.

Templates are most often required in the following areas:

  • Emails. Every day, office employees get an average of 121 emails. As a consequence, it's possible that you're sending the identical emails over and over again. By eliminating any personal information and storing it for later use, you may design your own template.
  • Internal communication is important. Look through your most recent communications for any trends. Even a simple template might help you relax and save time.
  • Documents from other sources. Contracts, proposals, and invoices all seem to be identical. You'll have a template to use after removing the information personal to your customers and partners, and you may change it as required.
  • Presentations. If you give more than one presentation each year, create a presentation template. The underlying framework may thus be maintained regardless of how varied each presentation seems.
  • There's one more thing to say about templates. They should be regarded as non-static documents. If you realize that you're making the same modifications again and over, you should update the template.

Routine tasks can be automated

Several repetitive chores are performed during the job. What business activities, on the other hand, should you consider automating?

First and foremost, make appointments. Appointments may be easily scheduled with calendar applications.

Your calendar may be emailed or linked to your website. You may now display your availability to others, allowing them to choose a time and day that is convenient for them.

The event will be instantly added to all registrants' calendars after they have selected it.

Email sorting and response, social network posting, and online form filling may all be automated. Proposals, invoicing, customer service, and data backup are all examples of this.

Each activity may just need a few minutes of your time. However, they swiftly build up and distract your focus.

The 30x Rule should be followed

We've just covered a few of the various ways you may use tools and messages to save time up to this point. DRY, on the other hand, might be handy in everyday tasks.

"Most managers would think it's crazy to spend 2.5 hours training someone to do a 5-minute task," says management expert Rory Vaden. "This is because most managers are stuck in the old 'urgency' mindset of only evaluating their tasks within the confines of a single day."

"In that case, it's never a good idea to spend 2.5 hours teaching someone how to do something they could do themselves in 5 minutes," Vaden explains.

According to Vaden, every work that can be assigned and repeated should be given 30X the time to teach others. According to the 30-X rule, a five-minute work allocated and trained for 2.5 hours would save you 1100 minutes (almost 18 hours!).

Total Task Time (5 minutes 250 working days) – Training Time is the mathematical formula (5 minutes).

It's all about keeping yourself DRY

Because all of these operations run in the background, you'll have more free time because you won't have to manually do monotonous activities. As a result, when it comes to time management, the DRY Principle is a useful strategy to try out.

You will have more time to focus on the things that matter most in the future if you maximize your production today. To begin, check over your existing workload to determine if there is anything you can automate using the DRY Principle.

Thanks to John Rampton at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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