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Saving time by writing better

When communicating, it is not only your time that matters — other people’s time matters too.

Think of a 1-to-1 conversation. Someone that is reading an incomprehensible, bad formatted piece of content, will need more time to understand it.

But also think of 1-to-many communication. It can be a blog post that reaches thousands of people. Most of them will just drop out if you aren’t brief and to the point. But even those who remain reading it, will need more time to process it. If you save your readers 1 minute and you have 10,000 readers… you just did a favor to humankind, saving 10,000 minutes, 166 hours, or roughly a week to your readers!

And how much time did it take you to save them that 1 minute? Maybe 10?

It’s still a 1:1000 ratio.

Time compounds

But even if it’s just a 1-to-1 conversation, it makes a difference. If you talk with a coworker daily, and they communicate in a way that saves you 5 minutes per day, that’s 1300 minutes, 21 hours, or a full day per year.

If 15 coworkers do the same, they are saving you two weeks of your year!

If your 15 coworkers save 5 minutes of their day, the organization saves 210 days, or 7 months of its most precious asset, its people’s time!

Improving communication as a great time investment

At the beginning, it can seem difficult to optimize how you communicate.

How do I start? Will I cut out important information? Where is the line between communicating and over-communicating?

Human communication is very subjective, so there isn’t a canonical answer to that. Yet, when talking to your coworkers, they will help you.

Did you write them something extremely hard to read and grasp? They will either tell you, or you may not see a lot of activity because they just don’t have the time to process it all.

Did you omit important information? They will ask you to detail it further.

Being great at something takes a loooong time. Yet being great at communicating is one of the most useful skills you can have.

We literally communicate every day, so the return on investment on learning how to better communicate is huge.

Form matters, too

No one likes to read badly formatted text. It is not only the message that matters, but the form it’s delivered in. When your text has formatting errors, it reveals lack of detail, care, and consistency.

Examples of what not to do:

  • Double spaces (Medium is so great it doesn’t allow you to have those)

  • Random spaces: Welcome to Westworld, you will find : oranges and robots. Spaces don’t go before colons.

  • Name mistyping, or random lowercase and uppercase: I really like aragon, and I think its sdk would be of great use to ETHEREUM. Aragon goes with capital A, SDK is an acronym, and Ethereum is not.

If you are drunk writing to your bro, it’s okay. But if you are creating a document intended to be shared with your team or community, please care.

God kills a kitten each time you don’t.

Easy ways to communicate better

  • Use something like Hemingway App to learn how to improve your writing

  • Triple check what you write, and make sure it’s both concise, easy to read, and well formatted

  • Use simple formatting, like bold or italic


That’s it! Hope it was helpful, and you can find more posts about personal productivity in my series about it.