Time Saver/Multitasking Tip – Modernized Time and Motion Thinking

Not long ago, I realized that I was making my oatmeal breakfast in a very inefficient way. I was using too many utensils and too many steps. So I was slower than I needed to be and had more washing up to do. I took a few minutes and reorganized how I did things. My new routine saved about five minutes.

Now that may seem trivial. But if you’ve ever read much about the development of “scientific management” from the early days of time and motion studies through the growth of industrial “best practices” to the more modern concepts of “incremental performance improvement,” you’ll have an idea of why my mind went immediately to making a change in my routine.

We all have behavior habits in the “way things are done.” Most of them were developed without thinking and cost a lot of time if you consider how the time loss adds up during the day.

In fact, if you think about how each process of any project affects the whole, you might consider the implications of saving just five minutes.

For example, suppose I had to be a the bus stop by a time certain to catch the right bus to get me to work on time. A delay of five minutes could cause me to miss the bus and have to wait another 15 minutes for the next. That 15 minutes could make me 10 minutes late for work, annoying my employer, earning me a lecture and causing me to be even later for a critical meeting with a project manager. The project manager, not having me there to answer key questions could reassign my role to another employee. That could mean I lost an assignment that made the difference between getting a promotion or watching it go to someone else — like the guy who was on time.

You see, in terms of performance and productivity, little things can mean a lot.

It’s been estimated that the time an average individual wastes on inefficient practices adds up to about an hour a day. And that is just in how he does his tasks, not in what tasks he does that are unnecessary or time-wasters in and of themselves.

Now it’s your turn. What are the poor methods you use that waste good time or produce low-quality results? How could you do them better and faster?

Pink and Pinker — Two Experts Who Can Help You Perform Better and Be More Productive

If you want to learn how to perform better or produce more, there’s plenty of literature on it. A lot of it is pretty repetitive. You’ve probably heard about the importance of organization and to-do lists until you’re ready to …zzzzzzzzzzz. Oh, sorry, that probably put you to sleep immediately.

Better performance and higher productivity — the stuff I write about — does require a lot of underlying structure. So, of course you keep hearing about that structure.

But there’s a great deal of more interesting ideas and information that also help you manage and improve your performance. Ideas about how the mind and brain work, what drives behavior, how socialization brings better organization and smoother transactions, just to name a few. Each of the two men I’m going to recommend to you writes and speaks about ideas like that.

First Let Me Introduce You To Daniel Pink

It’s easiest to get to know what Daniel Pink can contribute to your progress by looking first at his 2009 TED talk. I’ve embedded it below.

The TED talk is the essence of what he covers in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

As he says, he was trained as a lawyer, not a psychologist, so recognize that he doesn’t research and analyze the literature the way a psychologist does. So, if you’re looking for deep self-help literature, don’t look for it in his books.

From what I’ve seen in reviews of his book, some readers may find his conclusions too simplistic. But regardless of how he simplifies, there’s a lot of usable stuff in what he says. If you’re concerned about the value of his books, read the articles on his website http://www.danpink.com/articles before investing in them. Judge for yourself. Also, take a look at some of his videos — http://www.danpink.com/video.

His greatest value is in the fact that he is a speculative thinker. As his works illustrate, you don’t have to be a psychologist to dig into research and find useful gems. You just need a creative mind.

Now May I Present Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker, unlike Daniel Pink, is a psychologist. A researcher. An academic. An extraordinary speaker. (And just as an aside, an amazing photographer.) In his current employment, he is Harvard College Professor and the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology. He, too, is best introduced through a TED talk embedded below.

He writes and talks on how the mind works and how language and thought are related. His work has many implications for communication and socialization. If you want to understand the intricacies of social media in great depth, study his work. (No, so far he doesn’t lay it out specifically, it’s just implicit.)

He has a dozen books, 40 journal articles, 43 magazine articles and 24 newspaper articles. A visit to http://stevenpinker.com/publications will give you access to the articles. You’ll have to buy his books.

How Are These Guys Alike?

These guys are only alike in that their names have pink in them. Literally. And they both write from points of view that may shake up the way you think about work and life. Help you take a new viewpoint that shakes up the way you do things and helps you do stuff better.

They remind me of Apple’s slogan, “Think Different.”

I wrote about them in the same article because I was reading articles by or about them on the same day. I thought, “what a coincidence, Pink and Pinker.” It sounded like a great article title. So I researched each of them.

Three new articles for fun and profit

I’ve written and published three articles since I last posted here. Two you’ll find on superperformance.com, and one has been published on EzineArticles.com.

In “Gestures Don’t Have To Be Grand To Be Impressive — Or Profitable,” I talk about the ways in which you can do kind, generous, thoughtful things that deeply touch others. These are actions that are intended to benefit the other person without any strings attached. Yet, despite the fact that you do it without any particular expectation of return — that is, the primary reward is in the action — you almost always get other valuable returns. And if you do it as part of your business practices, you always profit in amazing, unplanned ways.

“Human Performance — The Three Essential Issues Made Easy for Business,” describes the critical factors in the study of human performance. They are actually quite easy to understand and simple to apply. They are necessary to the successful functioning of your organization.

How many confusing presentations you’ve heard on theories of human performance, performance management or human performance technology? Do you really get all the complicated terminology and convoluted details?

Here’s the short, sweet, untangled version of the basic, practical ideas.

The article I sent to EzineArticles.com “Image-Based Products – Easy and Consistent Profit Makers,” gives an overview of the business opportunities in creating such products.

By image-based products, I mean physical products that are based on photography, graphics and artwork. Such products might include printed tee-shirts, cards, stationery, journals, notebooks, ornaments, mugs — anything you might see on customized printing sites — and more. I’ve recommended specific image-based products to you several times in this blog and in other articles on superperformance.com.

I like to recommend them for solo entrepreneurs and micro businesses because they are so easy to get started with and for one person to produce, market and ship. Not to mention that there are so many outlets for selling them both online and off.