Thursday, June 9, 2011

Are You Working Hard?

The summer heat is upon us. I truly hope you all are busy. Busy is good. It certainly beats not having anything to do. However, have you ever wondered how much of your business is tied to the way you do things? Although nobody can give you any more time, you often can use your time more efficiently, which has the same effect. Learning to use your tools more effectively is important in any field. One example in teaching is designing, giving, and correcting tests. I have had quarters where at the end of the quarter I would have a box that a case of 10 packs of printer paper comes in full of paper tests to grade. I emptied it out printing the tests, and then filled it again after the tests had been taken. I still give written finals, but all other tests are on line. Using the test database built into MyHVACLab, I can build a test quickly. Better, I don’t use any of my time or any class time taking the tests. Best, I don’t have to grade a huge box of tests every few weeks. Even if you want to write all your own questions, keeping them in a test database still makes sense. You don’t duplicate effort because you can re-use your own questions. Even for my written finals, I use the database to generate the test. Instead of using class time having my students take tests, I try to use the time going over tests that they have taken. Nothing sears a piece of information into your brain like learning you just missed it on the test. Tools can be the same way. You can keep on doing the same things in the same way even when there is a more efficient way to use the same tools you already use. I have met many people who did not know that the “extra” lines inside their gauges were saturation temperatures. Essentially, a PT chart built right on their gauges staring them in the face. Digital gauges take this to an entirely new level of accuracy and flexibility, but even analog gauges normally have a few of the most common refrigerants on them. Spending a little extra on truck stock can save a lot of time. If you have the parts you need on your truck, you can do two calls in the time it takes to diagnose the problem, go get the part, and then return to put it on. Whatever you work hardest at, spend a little time analyzing why you do what you do and asking if there is not a more efficient way. The time you spend will be saved many times over.  

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