Would you like to learn three magical time-saving techniques that really work? I hope so, because today’s post has some of the most important wisdom on saving time that I could share with you.
One of my favorite work experiences was becoming a Green Belt in Lean while working in a state government position. The time-saving skills I learned were eye-opening and if I get right down to it, they’re half the reason I started this blog: I want you to have more time in your life. You see, my vision is a world of daughters who grow up into women who love themselves. And who better to show them how to do that than their mothers? Mothers who have time to focus on self-care?
To give credit where credit is due, “Lean” is a philosophy and methodology often attributed to the Japanese company Toyota. It comes with all sorts of japenese terms and methods that work, but they can also be hard to remember. The other thing is, there are loads of other people who have developed quite similar methods for saving time.
What you’re going to get in this and other blog posts are tactics used by all kinds of people and families and companies, boiled down in a way that works for a busy mama like yourself. After all, you’re not a government worker or a car factory employee. And even if you are, any concepts we pull into our home to save time should feel good, flexible, open.
Technique No. 1: Mindset Shift
Here is a mindset shift that can change your life because it will completely change your approach to problems and people: It’s our systems that make life hard, never ourselves or those around us.
It’s our systems that make life hard, never ourselves or those around us.-Ashley Fisher, www.gomama.love blogger
It can be so, so, so tempting to get frustrated with things going wrong (or time being wasted) and furiously labeling someone that you actually quite like as the culprit. (If only they would try harder, and be more organized, your life would be easier). (Or maybe the culprit is you and you’re snapping at yourself again?)
The thing is – and I promise this is true 98% of the time – you and everyone you love are victims of your own design. We move in these systems that are riddled with flaws that do things like cause car keys to be lost and dinner to be later than you meant and everyone to get out the door 10 minutes late. And because we don’t realize the systems are the problem, our annoyances turn into real live arguments and finger pointing that hurt ourselves and the people around us.
The beauty of knowing this is that you can completely shift how you approach frustrations at home or work. If everyone can get behind the idea that problems are not caused by people, but by systems, then we can get to the business of fixing them. All egos and relationships remain intact.
Technique No. 2: Identify a problem, then pause.
Ending wasted time habits is kind of like kissing your kid’s scratched knee. Just like how the kiss magically makes everything better, there’s something underneath the surface of your wasted time that needs to be addressed. Putting a band-aid on it just isn’t enough, you’ve got to lean in to the heart of the matter.
When it comes to saving time, the root cause of what’s bothering you is where you need to focus. In other words – and this is super important – you have to suspend your brain’s amazing ability to problem solve. Because your brain is most likely to create a band-aid instead of a magic kiss. When you identify a problem that needs fixing – pause.
Lesson No. 3: Ask “why” as many times as it takes
To get at the root cause, it helps to ask yourself “why” a number of times. This forces your mind to problem solve in a permanent way. I’ll give you an example.
The dreaded clothes pile
I used to take 15 or 20 minutes cleaning up a pile of clothes in my room every week. And no matter how many times I renewed my resolve to put away clothes when I changed, it somehow fell to pieces. Finally, I started asking myself “why.”
Q: Why do my clothes pile up on the floor?
A: Because I change when I come home from work.
Q: Why do I change when I come home?
A: Because I want to be more comfortable, so I put on jeans and a t-shirt. And my work clothes get dropped on the floor.
A: Because I’m usually in a rush to get to my next activity, and the laundry basket is over in the closet.
Aha!!! There it is. The laundry basket is not where I physically change, and I’m in a rush to get somewhere else.
So, after finding the underlying issue, I re-organized my room so that I am forced to change clothes next to my laundry basket. I have those 15 minutes back every week now, and my room looks a lot better.
Now it’s your turn to use these 3 magical time-saving techniques to fix something in your house that’s bugging you. Something that wastes your time. Remember: It’s the process and not people that have caused the problem. Don’t try to solve your issue right out the gate, or you could end up with a band-aid that doesn’t work all that well. Finally, ask yourself “why” until you reach an “Aha!” moment. You’ll probably come up with a solution you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. You’ll probably save some time!
***I’m curious – what time-waster in your house are going to take a look at, now that you’ve got these three magical time-saving techniques? Write it down in the comments. Because even though it might feel small, making a comment is an action. And action creates more action. go mama!