10 ways that I wasted time because “I know how to do something“
I have a bad habit of trying to DIY things just because I can. I have enjoyed learning skills and getting basically competent at many things. It comes in handy, but it can waste a lot of time. Someone that does that task day in and day out can probably do a better job.
I could probably make another list for how I saved time and money because I know how to do something too...
1. Website - don't DIY a site that can be done with no-code
I build (bigger) websites for my day job (I am a back-end developer). I bought a domain and I was waiting for all the stars to align before I would pick a framework, make a git repository, deploy to the server etc, etc, etc. I have a half dozen of these "great ideas" sitting around on a virtual shelf.
Because I have been concentrating on being more productive I built this in about 10 minutes using a no-code app set up by my hosting company, agreed to pay the $2.99 a month to park it on their server, spent 15 minutes on a tech support chat and now have a functioning website NOW in under half an hour instead of a super-duper site in 6 months or probably never. It looks better than anything I would have done on my own:
2. Sprinkler Repair
I know how to replace sprinkler heads. I am pretty sloppy and I don't like doing it. I did my own for a long time. Today I had someone come over and fix the sprinklers: It was eye-wateringly expensive but they were quick and did a good job and I did other things. The last time I did a lot of sprinker work I had joints popping, ruined clothes, and lots of creative vocabulary.
3. Mowing the lawn
I am at a rental now where the lawn care is included. I mowed my lawn for over 25 years. I did not mind mowing the lawn that much but I didn't do the edging, weeding and other stuff most of the time and my yard looked pretty crappy. I really don't like any other kinds of yardwork. I also had to maintain my equipment which can get expensive.
The last plumbing job I did I broke things. I had to go back out to the store and what should have taken 20 minutes took 3 days because I was not prepared.
5. Fret replacement
I like working on guitars as a hobby but I found my limits when I tried to do a re-fret job and destroyed a neck. Next one I am sending it out.
It is important to understand what is going on (here in the US this is the last week to file your taxes this year). I recommend that everyone do taxes on your own a few times so that you can appreciate the value in having someone else do them that specializes in them, especially if your taxes are at all complex. They do most of the work and save me more money in taxes than it costs to have them do the returns.
7. Electric work
I do a lot of this but once it starts to get complex I have occasionally needed to reach out and have someone come over. Now I do it before I make some sparks!
8. Going to the store to shop
I use Amazon and similar for 80% of what I buy and I also pre-order for the curb pickup. Saves so much time. Now when I go to the store it is to get some "me time" and get out of the house.
9. Writing code comments
I have really started to use ChatGPT and GitHub CoPilot as much as I can to get on top of it. I try to continue the discipline of thinking of lists without AI (most of the time) because it helps me. Writing code comments can be tough so I have started to ask ChatGPT to do it for me. I can't use what it writes most of the time but I use it as a humanoid interpreter to tell me what it thinks.
10. Folding clothes
I dress like I am about to ask for spare change most of the time. I wash clothes and then toss them back on the shelf in a loose pile to reduce wrinkles. I hang the collared shirts. It saves minutes every month!