Muda #6 - Time/Waiting

photo by fotologic

photo by fotologic

The 6th of the Muda’s (waste) is a waste that virtually everyone is familiar with, time. All too often though we only recognize the extremes. Jokes prevail about the waiting in line at the Motor Vehicle Department or the Doctors Office.

There is no doubt that the most visible forms of waste cost us all time, money and aggravation. Sitting in rush hour traffic, waiting in line at the grocery store and as mentioned the dreaded Doctor’s office.

Alan B. Krueger, A Princeton economics professor calculated that the average American spent 1.1 hours per week waiting for healthcare! Some of us have only spent a few hours a year so I can’t imagine how much time others must bear.

In many cases you may have little control, in others you may have more control than you realize. While some people sit and read the outdated magazines in the doctor’s office others are making use of the time paying bills, catching up on messages or doing needle point.

For those stuck in traffic, will your company allow you to shift your work schedule allowing you to miss the rush. You will likely be more productive as well. This was a tactic I’ve employed and found I could accomplish as much in the first few quiet hours of the day as I routinely completed in the remainder of the day.

Many of us also waste time due to our own poor planning or poor judgment. Consider for a moment the other forms of waste we have reviewed including waste of:

  • Rework – Having to do things twice because we tried to rush through them the first time.
  • Over-processing – Making or doing too much of something or spending more time than necessary.
  • Transportation – Moving some things too often or too far because they are not strategically located.
  • Motion – Moving yourself more than necessary due to improper planning or poor organization.

Poor organization is a giant killer of time for many of us. We learned yesterday that the average American spends 55 minutes each day looking for things they have as a result of disorganization. We also found simply getting rid of clutter in your home could reduce your housecleaning load by up to 40%.

When talking about organization we should also consider organization of our time. People routinely waste time simply due to poor planning. Without  a clear and defined agenda for each day we find ourselves distracted by extraneous thoughts, surfing the web and twitter to name a few.

How do you eliminate all the waste of time in your life? We have to face that there will be some but we can certainly reduce it. Begin with all the things you can control.

Apply the strategies of Lean Life Management, eliminate the wastes of motion, transportation, over processing and rework whenever and wherever you can. Get control of your life by using the 5S’ as a platform for organization.

With those time wasters that you cannot control be strategic. Plan ahead of where you will be going and what you will be doing. Map your routes and learn the traffic patterns of common destinations. Schedule appointments early in the morning and right after lunch when doctors and companies are more likely to be on schedule.

When you absolutely cannot control or limit your wait be prepared with constructive time fillers. Bring your bills and checkbook to the waiting rooms. Have your notes, contact information and messages at hand for those unexpected times you get stuck waiting for someone else.

What tactics do you use to limit wasted time in your life? Please click on the comment link to share your insights or tricks, we’d love to learn!


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