What Is Your Biggest Waste of Your Time?

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Last week I was having a short lunch at one of the most well-know restaurant that  you can find in almost any city. It starts with the letter M…’s

Anyway, I had a few minutes between my Lean Six Sigma coaching sessions at $25 million organization so I headed for a meal.

As I was waiting for my salad (you know, it’s January J…) I was looking at a big LCD screen TV on the wall. It was switched off even though there was several guests sitting alone.

It was apparently “cleaned” because there were those huge stripes of the cleaning sponge on it. You could not miss it.

These “cleaning stripes” on the LCD screen reminded me on one of the 8 wastes of Lean (Lean Manufacturing or Lean Principles).

If you’ve not seen the video presentation yet, check it out here:

http://peterherku.com/2010/08/23/what-is-lean/

Clearly, swiping the screen with dirty sponge is just a waste of time. It is done to tick the TO DO box.

As one of my favorite writer, Tim Ferriss, calls this phenomena “W4W” meaning “work for work’s sake, in his book 4 Hour Work Week.

And this is one of the biggest waste in your work and in ANY organization. No doubt.

So here is my quick guide to remove this waste:

A)     If you’re responsible for other’s work:

a.       Make sure they understand the REASON WHY they have to complete those tasks that you have requested them.

b.      Let them explain it back to you so you can check it if they really know it or just politely saying “Yes” to you without understanding.

c.       Check randomly how the work is performed, how data is collected, how things are being measured to see in practice what you have had in mind. Only the practice can show you the shortcomings of your processes.

B)      If you are not managing others…(but yourself)

a.       List your main tasks and identify the priorities (you know Pareto-law)

b.      Write down at each tasks what the main reason and biggest benefit is of the tasks

c.       Check those reasons and benefits with your colleagues/manager – those who should benefit from the tasks you have performed.

d.      In case of deviation, adjust. Meaning: improve the output or SKIP the tasks.

Stop WORKING FOR WORK’S SAKE.

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Warm regards,

Peter

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