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16 May

Learn something new in less than 10 minutes

Datum: 2024-05-16 09:08
Two people are sitting at a table, one writing in a notebook and the other using a smartphone, with a cup of coffee nearby.

Do you also tend to for­get things you have just learned? Some­one shows you how to per­form a task you have just been made respon­si­ble for and in that moment it is so obvi­ous how to do it, but the first time you are about to per­form it your­self, you hes­i­tate. How was it sup­posed to be done? You can­not remember.

For you who pre­fer lis­ten­ing to read­ing, this post is also avail­able as an episode of the Done!” pod­cast:

Does this sit­u­a­tion sound famil­iar as well? You are going to do some­thing that is very com­pli­cat­ed and you can­not remem­ber exact­ly how you use to do it. But, when you have twist­ed and turned it around for a while, you remem­ber and every­thing comes into place. That’s right, this was it! But the next time you are about to do it, you seem to have for­got­ten all about what just recent­ly felt was the most obvi­ous solution.

Or, maybe you can iden­ti­fy with this sit­u­a­tion? Your boss has reas­signed you, and you look for­ward to delv­ing into the new, excit­ing assign­ments you have been made respon­si­ble for. But first, you have to teach the one who is tak­ing over the old” tasks how these are best done. You sched­ule a sit-down and go through every­thing, but the col­league still comes by the day after and asks Sor­ry, but can you remind me how I was sup­posed to do it? Can you just show me one more time?”.

One les­son for every topic

If you are famil­iar with lean and well versed in the tools used in that par­tic­u­lar field to make work more sim­ple and effec­tive, you will also be famil­iar with the so-called OPL:s”, which stands for One Point Lessons”.

These are sim­ple and short descrip­tions of how some­thing works or is done, and they teach how you per­form a sin­gle step of a process or how to do a whole task. Let me empha­size that an OPL is sim­ple — both regard­ing how it is struc­tured and how to make it.

So easy we will not pro­cras­ti­nate it

Tra­di­tion­al­ly the les­son has to fit on a sin­gle sheet of paper (a phys­i­cal paper or its dig­i­tal equiv­a­lent). It should not be too com­pli­cat­ed — it has to be pos­si­ble to put it togeth­er in fif­teen min­utes tops and it should not take more than ten min­utes to go through with the per­son you are teach­ing. The les­son can be writ­ten and/​or illus­trat­ed with pic­tures. It can con­sist of a sketch that explains how it is done or a print screen that you have drawn arrows and cir­cled things on.

The whole point is to quick­ly and eas­i­ly show how some­thing is done — and that the les­son is so sim­ple to make that there is no rea­son to post­pone mak­ing it and think I’ll do it lat­er” (and thus miss out on its sim­pli­fy­ing prop­er­ties for a need­less­ly long peri­od of time).

Try this

If you can relate to the exam­ples I just men­tioned or are attract­ed by the sim­ple bril­liance of one-point-lessons, do this:

  1. Think of a sin­gle step of a process or task for which mak­ing a les­son out of it would make your life eas­i­er. Is there some­thing your col­leagues should know how to do, that is not that hard, but which only you know how it is done?

  2. Make up your mind to cre­ate a one-point-les­son before the end of the day. It will not take more than a few min­utes. You could, for instance, do it right after lunch so that it will not inter­rupt your work­flow in the morn­ing or dur­ing the afternoon. 

  3. Cre­ate the les­son in a sim­ple man­ner so that you will be able to fin­ish it in fif­teen min­utes. It may not be pret­ty or per­fect, but just good enough for a col­league of yours (or you, if you are mak­ing it for your­self) to ben­e­fit from it!
  4. If you need to, spend anoth­er fif­teen min­utes on it lat­er to make it even bet­ter. It does not have to be per­fect, just bet­ter than before.
  5. Applause! (From me, if not from some­one else!)

Time for the impor­tant things

If you cre­ate sim­ple one-point-lessons for those steps or tasks that you and your col­leagues need to learn, you will not have to spend unnec­es­sary time, again and again, to try to learn the same thing over and over. You will be able to spend more time on the impor­tant tasks instead. That is what we all want to do, is it not?

What is your way?

Have you already made a cou­ple of OPL:s? Please feel free to share with me. I’m sure there are more peo­ple, besides for myself, who would enjoy read­ing about what you have made into OPL:s.

(Speak­ing of learn­ing, have you heard about the Feyn­man method?)

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