We hear the word algorithm so many times now and where was it before? How did we live without hearing it so much? Why is it now so important? How many algorithms are we meant to learn anyway?
Just what is an algorithm?
An algorithm is a process or set of rules or steps to be followed in calculations or other problem solving operations and specify mostly that they are done by a computer.
So we presume that algorithms are only used in the computer and technology world. We know about how they determine what is at the top of the Google search engine most of us use. Facebook and all the other tech companies use their own algorithms to funnel information to their users and gain more revenue for themselves. They are mining our information to use against us or for them whichever way we look at it.
Put simply an algorithm is a set of sequenced steps that are made one by one. Through this process an output is created.
When you browse through an ecommerce site and use the search engine you are putting in information or your personal details and the website is tracking your input. They are processing it to their advantage. They are either selling the information to other users, funnelling ads to your feed they think you should or could be interested in and win ad revenue.
If you use any of the platforms you have to follow their algorithm. Learn and adapt to the everchanging versions the companies have. You are constantly chasing other algorithms which are leading you further away from what you actually wanted in the first place. You are adapting to their programming.
Are they only used in technology?
However algorithms have always been around . Yes way before technology and you use algorithms yourself each and every day without even thinking about them.
The simplest example would be a recipe.
You are given simple steps to follow in order to create the end product, the meal. You have just followed an algorithm.
The routine you follow each and every morning or evening is an algorithm in itself as it is a collection of steps that you go through in order to achieve the outcome.
How you sort through your mail is another one.
How you declutter your wardrobe with piles – save – donate – dump.
Even doing a puzzle, starting with the corner pieces and the outside and working your way inside.
So why do we all seem to have a fear of the word algorithm?
Who doesn’t remember sitting in front of maths homework and being ready to pull out your hair in frustration at yet another new algorithm you need to learn and at the moment it makes no sense at all. Maybe this is where the anxiety about algorithms starts out.
Do you feel despair at the word that is so often used and think “oh no I can’t do that!” or won’t understand what it means? Well it’s time to own it.
If you have been feeling overwhelmed with new rules, updates and changes and long for the simpler times. Why is there another update and why doesn’t it work like it did last week or last month. Why is there another update or change?
Embrace the change
If you feel that your day is slipping by and your productivity levels are dropping this is a sign that the routine you have right now is not working as efficiently for you. It’s time for a change and start by looking at your method. What steps are you taking to achieve your outcome?
It could be something simple like you need to get to work and the journey is taking so long. Maybe your commute time could be shorter if you use a different route or leave a little earlier or even later. Is public transport available?
It could surprise you by changing up a few things. Your daily commute could be transformed.
If you think about the thing that drains your energy and your time. Is there a way of simplifying it?
Are you running your own business and some tasks are just tedious and by procrastinating you are making things worse. There are solutions. Yes of course hiring a virtual assistant to help with the mundane tasks even on a short term basis.
Is there a way of simplifying the steps you take?
Sorting out your email inbox and unsubscribing from all the sites you signed up for and never use.
If a method is not working for you it is working against you and needs to be streamlined.
The most important algorithm for you is the algorithm of your life.
You are an individual person and what works for you works for a reason as it suits the way you think and function. Does it make sense to everyone else? No of course not, we all think differently and that is the beautiful thing about humans.
Yes of course you could be an employee in a large or small firm and have to follow the rules of the company and the work algorithms they have. Are there any ways of making your job easier? Trying to figure out the process and steps you make to work more efficiently within the parameters.
Observe how other people are doing things. Don’t compare or put yourself or them down, just observe and take some inspiration from the positive things and adapting it to your own methods or steps.
Who knows it could be the breakthrough you need to start the routines and habits that make your life fulfilling.
Too many algorithms in life
We seem to be so busy trying to figure out the algorithms of the platforms we need to use in our personal and work life and trying to protect ourselves from their manipulation we lose track of what is most important in life.
They are forever changing and updating and we seem to accept it as normal.
For that same reason we should accept that we need to adapt or update and improve our own lives..
We all need to prioritise our own algorithm. We are changing and adapting to the new seasons of our lives and should be focusing more of our time on this.
Life changes all the time. We move from being children and learning new things and taking on more responsibilities and becoming adults which brings even more changes.
Transitioning from single to a couple or becoming parents for the first time and then empty nest as the children leave the home, to retirement.
There are of course so many new procedures we need to learn to master our everyday lives with so many changes we couldn’t list.
These all require new steps or methods to manage our time and routines.
Once you have your own algorithm streamlined then you can take on all the other algorithms confronting you everywhere else. It doesn’t seem so overwhelming anymore.
So it is time to own your own algorithm. Embrace it and adapt it to suit your needs. Make it work for you and don’t be afraid to update it as and when you need to or even want to.