Long run efficiency

I recently started working on excel modeling as part of my work. I’ve always been on the theoretical side of working on excel, having attended some trainings here and there but not really applying my skills to the fullest.

It was only in the hands-on of these things that I realise it takes a lot of creativity to model things simply and well. More importantly, being able to foresee how a user is going to approach the model or future expansions to the model required helps you do better.

Now the dilemma is often the trade off between being able to get the results quickly versus finding a more efficient way to arrive at the results. Most people who cares about only the outcome may not want to take detours around experimenting with more efficient methods. Once you perceive the clock ticking is for the outcome, you want to just trek down the path you know to that outcome, rather than take time finding shorter paths that may not bring you to your destinations.

The truth however, is that finding the new paths can have really great long term payoffs because if you’re going to repeat the same kind of tasks or model, you now know how to do it more efficiently. Yet how many of us invest in that? We prefer someone else to do the hard work and meanwhile we will just take the tedious way out.

Pathfinding for long run efficiency is in itself somewhat “inefficient” only when you perceive the clock ticking for the short run outcome. The story to tell yourself is that you’re looking at the long term efficiency. A good life is not made of a series of short term optimisations.