A concept that is commonly referred to from a lean perspective is the stand-up meeting. Instead of sitting in a conference room where everyone can get comfortable and talk about things for hours……….and yes I mean hours, the stand-up meeting is a shorter, to the point meeting. During the stand-up meeting the group focuses on the problems and opportunities. Two benefits of standing up is people are more willing to be short and concise with their statements and people are more willing to go and directly observe the problem or opportunity they are discussing. When sitting it is even easier to problem solve in the conference room.
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As I look for ways to improve, I am inspired by other lean thinkers and bloggers. I see what they are trying and look to how that might work for me. I try and experiment with things in order to make my job easier and to feel more in control and organized.
I decided to start a series that will be based on what I have tried in order to make my work better. It may be small or large things and most likely it was an inspiration I got from someone else. I hope that by passing along what I have learned that it may inspire others the way others have inspired me.
One of the biggest obstacles I have had is creating time for myself during the work day. Time I could use to complete a project or work that needed a couple of hours or time to work on continuous improvement ideas for my work. I was talking with a co-worker a couple of months ago about this and she shared with me how she handles it. I took the advice and added to it and so far it has worked very well.
I work in a company that relies heavily on everyone’s calendar to schedule meetings and work time, etc… The first thing I did was I blocked out every Friday, all day, as work time. I spend most of the week traveling back and forth between our corporate office and our three manufacturing plants and one distribution center. They are all are within an hour drive of our corporate office. I use Fridays as my catch up day for travel expenses, some emails, reviewing material people asked for help on, networking, etc….
One of the new standardize work tasks I have for Friday is to look at my calendar for the following week. Wherever I have large blocks of time, typically 1.5 hours or more, I block it off for work time. I use this time to work on projects and tasks that are longer than 10 minutes to complete.
Because I have blocked this time off does not mean that I won’t add meetings during this time. it just means that I have more control over it now. If someone adds a meeting at the last minute, I now have the option and control to determine whether or not it is one I should participate in or if it is as important as the work that I have to do. I have taken more control of my time.
The results: I have found that I am getting more things done during the week. I am also more relaxed during busy times because I can see (visual management) the blocked work time and now that I have time coming up to complete some work that needs to be done at my desk. I can also give a better due date to the person asking for the work to be done.
I hope this is something that can help others can more control over their time.