Monday, 1 April 2013

Ready your stations

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." Lincoln

Notice how a large manufacturing concern will always take ample time to properly lay out a new assembly line, even if it means delaying production for a few days.  Having machinery in close proximity that's laid out in a sequential manner will reduce process times and lower manufacturing costs.  Those few extra days taken to carefully lay the line out will be paid for within the first few weeks of production.

This principle of preparedness can be extended to practically any undertaking, be it taking the time to sharpen an axe before chopping a tree, the mechanics of a Formula One team spending hours to meticulously pack and unpack their tools before a race, or a chef laying out all his implements and ingredients before cooking.  The time to do these things almost always ends up being time well invested.

Especially when your workload is high and deadlines tight, you may often be tempted to just dive into a task.  But taking time to plan and ensuring all your tools are ready almost always ensures you finish sooner than someone who just starts and worries about logistical details later.  Tidying up, ensuring everything is in its place and that there's a place for everything feels tedious and time consuming, but once everything is at your fingertips and your workspace is clear you will work efficiently, harmoniously and happily.

It's not so much a question of simplicity or complexity, it's a question of frequency:  If you do the simplest, most brain-dead task multiple times then you need to have your workspace clear and the tools you use properly laid out.  Because even the smallest efficiency improvement is compounded when you do anything multiple times.  This is why an effort to properly prepare pays for itself within a short space of time.

Scientist, Doctor of Medicine and stem cell research pioneer Robert Lanza’s theory of biocentrism has seven principles, one of which states:

Our external and internal perceptions are inextricably linked.  They are different sides of the same coin and cannot be divorced from one another.

The mind and physical reality mirror each other, so if there is clutter in your environment then your mind will start to perceive clutter.  Therefore having a neat, well prepared workspace is about much more than efficiency or pleasantry; it leads to improved mental well-being too.

Amazon Review: "This is a well written, smart and happy book about getting oneself out of the ruts we often find ourselves in - not only in the job market but also in life. Highly recommended."

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