As I bake and cook, I clean and wash up. I learned this by doing it alongside of my parents while I grew up. I learnt quite quickly that when things burn on the hob or in the oven, it is quite a pain to clean up. Burnt cheese caked on the side of an oven dish is no fun. Neither is burnt milk on the bottom of a pan. And the more utensils, pans, and bowls I used, the more I needed to clean up.
Similarly, I was involved in most jobs on the farm from start to finish. And we were taught to think about the next job in the process and ask ourselves how we could make it easier in how what we were doing first. There is immense value in understanding the whole process, of understanding what comes next. Historically, some factories and companies would move their staff around for this reason.
Doing the next thing, the next step in the process enables us to improve our part. What appears as efficiency for us may be the exact thing that causes problems ‘down the line’. But also, understanding the whole picture can help us ‘see’ the benefit of doing something that may feel ‘inefficient’ but makes the whole process work. For example, how we collect and structure our data can impact how ‘easy’ it is to analyse the data later.
This applies to most areas of life and work. When we care what comes next, when we care about the people who use or build upon our work, we change.
What comes next after your work? Do you know how your work will be used?
The choice is up to us.