The concept of lean has been met with major enthusiasm in the business world. I go into more detail in this article, but it’s about creating more value with fewer resources.
So you can see why it’s so popular, right? That’s quite the win/win if it works.
My introduction into this world came from reading Paul Akers’ book “2 Second Lean.” What he helped me understand is lean is a mindset. It is about training yourself to be really conscious of the steps you take to complete a certain task, and identify inefficiencies in real time.
Paul implemented lean concepts to his manufacturing business (and his home life!) so I wondered if it applied to our setting where tasks aren’t necessarily as linear. To find out, I spent a week actively analyzing my workday and the processes I’ve put in place. After all, I’ve always identified myself as an efficient employee, but surely I could find ways to work even faster. And boy, did that ever prove to be the case.
Here is my case study for the week experiment:
The tried and true
I have always kept an ongoing to-do list that guided my daily tasks at work. When I would think of things to complete, I would simply add it to the list in no particular order. When one item was completed, I’d refer back to the list and decide on the next.
The identified waste
The list was never centralized, and so was often written in multiple places. Further, it forced me to prioritize the items every time I looked at it. Occasionally, I’d forget to update it, so I’d come into work in the morning not sure of what my day was going to look like. The analysis paralysis often led me down distracted paths.
Every evening before I leave at the end of the day, I go into my calendar and schedule my day block-by-block with the tasks I know I want to complete while everything is fresh in my mind. If something comes up throughout the day, I rearrange the order. It means I can remain in “go” mode rather than constantly stopping to think about what to do next. It also motivates me to work quickly because I want to keep up with the schedule I created for myself.
This change was only the beginning. Once I got myself into the lean mindset, I started cutting out all sorts of inefficiencies. The best advice I can give is to ask yourself, “is this the fastest way to complete my task?” at the beginning of every one you do. The answer is probably “no.”
I’d like to challenge you to try the same thing. Spend some time analyzing the steps you take throughout your day, and try to come up with faster ways of completing your tasks. If your experience is like mine, it will revolutionize your work day.