Add Value to Your Life
Are you a lean expert from 9-5, Monday through Friday, but come home to an empty fridge, cluttered garage and only after waiting in traffic far to long, listening to the same talk radio station day in and day out? Do you wait until you’re completely out of something to replace it, like shampoo or shaving cream? How about your yard work? Is Sunday really the day you want to spend all day in the yard doing work when you could be enjoying other activities?
Unfortunately, these scenarios are all too familiar for both lean experts and those just getting into lean. Why is it that we can be so efficient and productive on the clock, but upon punching out we resort to inefficient drones wasting our time away? There are several ways we can take our lean tools and training home with us, without feeling like we are still at work.
Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.
From Henry Ford to Taiichi Ohno lean concepts and procedures have been improving the operations of businesses everywhere. However, there’s no reason lean ideologies should be restricted to your on-the-clock life. Using your lean knowledge and skills to promote lean in everything you do will improve your life in more ways than you can imagine.
Bring Lean Home
The problem is while it might be easy to spot waste at work, it can be much more difficult to spot and fix at home. The following are some tips and suggestions to help incorporate lean into your everyday life:
- Use your time in traffic wisely- A recent study by Texas A&M University stated that the average American spends 38 hours a year in traffic. If there’s really no way around it, sitting in traffic can be valuable time to catch up on things you normally would have no time for. Podcasts and audio books can be valuable tools for learning something new or expanding current knowledge while in the car. All too often we get stuck on the same station that might give us mindless entertainment, but is it really adding any value to your life? With the access to podcasts growing daily, the amount of content is endless. No matter what you’re interested in learning, chances are there’s a podcast that can help. Best of all, they’re free!
- Shop online, save time and money- Ask yourself how much time do you waste driving to stores, looking for the items you need and then having to wait in line to pay for them? It’s an absolute waste of time when just about anything you would ever need at home is a click away on sites like Amazon and eBay. Fresh food might be out of the question for most, but items like toothbrushes, shaving cream, appliances and so much more are available from the comfort of your home. Also, the items you purchase online are usually cheaper than your brick and mortar down the road.
- Spread out your yard work- Why wait until the weekend to try and get all your chores around the yard done? It’s amazing what ten minutes of work here and there can do to your efficiency and time management. A walk around the yard after a long day of work can not only help you unwind after a long day of work and commuting, but also be used in a productive manner. If you can do a little bit everyday or even every other day after work, your Sundays will have a lot more time with a cold beverage in hand, rather than a weed whacker.
- 5S your garage- This might take the most amount of time upfront, but the benefits are endless. There’s nothing worse than going out to your garage and spending wasted time looking for a tool or item you need. F0r what ever reason, the garage is always the number one collector of waste in most homes. However, it’s also one of the most important places to clean and organized. Having a clean and organized garage is one of the most satisfying feelings to walk into, not to mention the jealousy that will come from envious friends.
- Educate the household- This might be the last tip I have, but it’s probably the most important. Don’t be selfish with your knowledge. Educate the members of your household with the reasons why you do things the way you do and the benefits that come with them. The more they know, the more they will be willing to support a lean culture and help bring lean home.
Never Stop Improving
Lean manufacturing focuses on optimizing your processes and eliminating waste. At work this helps cut costs and deliver what the customer wants with added value. At home though, you are both the manufacturer and the customer. Adding lean methods to your life away from the job can have a tremendous impact on everything you do from here on out.
Let your imagination and training run wild, there’s no limit to improvement. Using your lean ways at home should come with a boost in the bank account and more time to do what you really want to do. Don’t be afraid to reward yourself with this new found capitol and time you have created. The more you work towards continuous improvement as a way of life, the more your life will seem like a reward in itself.