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?