Lean is a concept of an efficient manufacturing and operations that comes from the Henry Ford and the Toyota Production System. Lean is all about continually improving the way a project is delivered by eliminating things that are wasteful. We aim to maximize human potential by empowering our workers to continuously improve their work. We do this by having our workers actively identify problems and look for opportunities of improvement.
Process Improvement is the proactive task of identifying, analyzing and improving upon existing business processes within an organization for optimization and to meet new quotas or standards of quality.
I imagine most of us face the common problem of not having enough time to do the things we want. With all the current changes and many of us working from home or juggling personal and professional to-do’s, we could all use a little more Lean in our daily lives.
Here are some key things I do in my own:
Mapping out your to-do’s.
First, make a list of all your to-dos. Identify every step that goes along with each to-do. Then, estimate how much time each activity will take. Which of these activities bring value and which do not? Categorize them by important and urgent, important but not urgent, not important but urgent, and not important and not urgent.
Give priority to the ones that are important and urgent. Develop a proper plan and time schedule for those tasks that are “Important but Not Urgent”. See if you could diplomatically reject those tasks that are “Not Important but Urgent”. You will be surprised how much time we are busy doing nothing.
Look for ways to minimize waste.
Lean organizations look for ways to eliminate waste by identifying processes and resources that add value, those that don’t add value but are necessary under current conditions, and those that don’t add value and should be eliminated.
Doing this at home can simplify your life and save you time and money. An overcrowded fridge is an example of the waste of inventory. You may let food spoil because you didn’t know it was hiding in the back. The full fridge may be due to making more food than your family can eat, or in Lean terms, overproduction. Once you have an eye toward waste reduction, you’ll likely be surprised by how much you find.
There are many ways you can apply lean into your daily life. We believe getting things done is not about working harder, but working smarter.
Looking for other ways to be more efficient with your time? Learn more about our storyboarding process that we do on all of our projects and how you can incorporate into your life.