New from CT!
amber0, I want to welcome you as well to Chef Talk.
This is a fantastic resource for anyone how cooks, period.
I see that you've chosen 'other' as your culinary experience.
It sounds to me though, that we should move your post over to the Pro Chefs forum,
where you'd get real experienced answers and support.
The folks here at CT or VERY generous with their knowledge.
Welcome to CT Amber. It's hard to give advice about efficiency as every kitchen is different. The best advice I can offer is to always be thinking and planning ahead. Be organized, be clean and keep the menu in perspective. Beyond that I think you are right on track as you are clearly thinking about time and motion.
As a sous chef (who works on the toughest station 6 nights a week) the info I offer to new line cooks is don't over think it. Just do.
Usually the ones who are motivated and really excited about the culinary world are the ones who have the toughest time learning the line because they are too afraid of screwing up a dish (failing in their minds). You're going to screw up a lot so just let it happen, it's like pulling off a band-aid. Usually the less motivated ones like a dishwasher who sort of gets promoted to fry or cold line by default have less trouble learning the line because they are blissfully not over thinking anything. They don't know enough about cooking or care enough to be afraid, these are usually the ones who never become great, just keep doing their stations year after year. I know this may sound opposite of what it should be but in my experience with new line cooks (it's a lot trust me) this holds true almost every time. Some of the best line cooks 4 years down the road are usually the ones who had the most trouble learning it initially but toughed it out long enough to become great.
Another bit of advice is don't compare yourself to other line cooks. I don't know what station you've been hired for (its tough to guess because you have no line cooking experience but you say you'll be creating daily specials? I'm a bit confused here) but what may seem like an impossibly hard station from a cold-line perspective is not even close to being reality. I looked at the grill cook and lead saute cook like they were gods but really they were no smarter or better than me, just more experienced. I am doing what they were doing at a much better skill/technique level years later now that I have the experience and confidence. It will all come into perspective once you've reached the top of the line, if you get there.