productivity

What We Can Learn From The Assembly Line To Be More Productive

What We Can Learn From The Assembly Line To Be More Productive

I think Henry Ford was on to something. Ford, as history has taught us, was the inventor of the Model T, the first mass produced automobile. Mass production, and the T's low price tag, wouldn't have been possible without Ford's use of the assembly line. The truth is, the assembly line predated Ford, but he was the first person to apply it to a massive production scale for automobiles. Traditionally, workers moved down a production line to complete a task. Ford, on the other hand, had the workers remain in place, and the parts move down the line.

This seemingly insignificant alteration yielded large increases in productivity. It allowed Ford Motor Company to make 15 million Model-T’s in the span of 14 years, also, at half the cost. With many more middle and lower income people being able to afford a car, the world got a whole lot bigger. Highway transportation systems were established, commerce flourished, and society was changed forever.

History lesson aside, I've thought a lot about assembly lines lately, as it relates to how I complete various tasks in my home and office. I first noticed in a passive way that when I did tasks in an assembly line manner that I was able to accomplish them with more accuracy and speed. Saving time and yielding a better result? What is not to like about that? The only downside to assembly line style task work is tedium. When a large project requires repeat actions in a stage of work, things can get boring! The temptation is to want to switch gears and do something else, or skip ahead. Do anything to break up the monotony.

Applying the 80/20 Rule to Organization and Decluttering

Applying the 80/20 Rule to Organization and Decluttering

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle? I learned of it years ago, and I think it really can apply to the process of getting your home and/or office more organized, and also, re-examining your schedule to be more productive. In essence, the 80/20 rule says that 80 percent of results will come from 20 percent of action.

Applying this principle to all of your “stuff” works like this: many people only use 20 percent of the things they own on a daily or even semi-daily basis. For example, owning 10 pairs of shoes but reliably only wearing two. 20 cookbooks sit on a shelf but only 4 show quality kitchen love.

Back in terms of time productivity, I flip this explanation a bit and approach it from one other perspective as well. Oftentimes, when I am working on something, the last 20 percent of the work, takes 80 percent of the time! Many times I will think “oh, it’s only going to take me 10 minutes to finish the last of this project.” Only to realize that is actually going to take twice as long, or more. Some how what should be the easiest “finishing” part always turns out to be the longest last mile.

And when it comes to a big organizing or tidying project, inevitably, only in the last 20 percent of the project will 80 percent of the result be realized. That is why it is so hard for people who don’t truly have a passion for organizing (like me or Marie Kondo who says herself, she “loves messes”) have such a hard time staying motivated at the beginning—or even middle— stages of an organizing task. It’s because it looks like no progress is being made.

Master Your Voicemail With the YouMail App

Master Your Voicemail With the YouMail App

Just the other day I was reading a thread on a friend's Facebook feed on which she was complaining about how many voicemails she gets. She was also lamenting about how long it takes her to listen to each message and accurately transcribe them. Boy, can I relate to her frustration!

Voicemail had become such a problem for me a couple of years ago that I started to experience actual anxiety about the unlistened-to voicemails filling up my phone. Slowly I would see the number of messages increase day after day, as the older messages got buried further and further in the stack.

Part of my dread stems from the fact that I'm not much of a phone person. Which surprises me considering how many hours I spent with a receiver attached to my head as a teenager. But when your whole world is limited to school gossip and teen drama, the level of priority phone calls are infinitely more consequential compared the demands of adult life and responsibility. If ALL I had to do these days was talk on the phone, I'd probably still love it. But that is not the case. Now I have housework, work-work, pet-care work and everything-else-in-between work. Additionally, the ease and prevalence of text messaging has made it so much easier to be able to avoid the phone.

The Strategy and Value of Time Blocking

The Strategy and Value of Time Blocking

Time blocking is finally productivity technique that seems to be sticking with me for the long-run.

If you can read through my words to hear a sense of exasperated relief, you are spot on. I've tried so many different time-saving tips, apps, worksheets, planners, etc. over the years. And nothing really seemed to ever find my sweet spot.

Until I learned about time blocking. Time blocking is where you set a specific allotment of time to do a specific task or set of tasks. Generally, why it works is because it debunks the myth of multi-tasking. It is simply a more efficient, and I would argue, less stressful way to be productive.