Inefficiency of meetings

An all company meeting is expensive and I am not talking about the expense of providing donuts for everyone. If you broke down what you paid each person per hour and added it up the ROI on a companywide meeting needs to pretty substantial. This isn’t to say that meetings aren’t necessary but often times they are unfortunately inefficient. Some of the inefficiencies stem from setup and logistics others are from mob rules mindset that can take over, and others are lack of discipline.

The logistics of getting everyone started on a meeting on time in a centralized or decentralized workplace often time seems to be big hurdle. The meeting software doesn’t work or not everyone arrives on time the amount of time and dollars wasted in not starting on time. What would happen if people took meeting start more seriously? How much time could be saved in a year? What else could you do with the time and money saved? If you could reward people for starting a meeting on time would the behavior change? How about mob rules and someone hijacks a meeting? Or you have invited people who don’t feeling like it is necessary for them to be there? You now have missed your meeting goal. If you have people in your meeting who don’t want to be there how efficient and effective is your meeting going to be? How often have you sat in a meeting and had it derailed because a few members have decided to deep dive on one of the topics? How much are you paying the rest of the members to sit there and listen to the deep dive? It is hard to be disciplined about deep diving when you finally gather people together and they are passionate about a subject or see a chance to resolve it.

  • Have a standard system for the technology in meeting is a way of improving the efficiency.
  • Starting meeting on time whomever is present will encourage people to show up on time or miss important points.
  • Ending the meeting on time is another technique if you miss covering a point and have to cover it in another meeting it might encourage people to be there on time rather than sit through another meeting.
  • Having the person who called the meeting publish the agenda 24 hours before the meeting will help people know whether or not they are actually needed at the meeting and will prevent it being hijacked onto other topics.
  • Having an agenda and way to mark topics as important for a further deep dive also helps with discipline because the expectations are clear to everyone before hand.

Comment below and tell me how you have improved your meetings?

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Meeting Infographics

 

The efficiency of selfcare

Taking time out of your day to do stuff for yourself may seem counterintuitive when you have a day packed to the gills with tasks. I know I have a hard time with this. However what I have learned is that taking the time for self-care no matter how inconvenient makes completing the rest of the tasks that I have time left for more efficient. Now granted as you have seen from that last sentence it does mean picking and choosing the tasks that you will have time for. This is the hard part and sometimes you can’t you have to get them all done or suffer negative consequences that are not palatable whether they are political or economical in nature. Meaning you might lose money or miss a deadline that would imperil your position.

There are many amazing blogs out there about self-care. To me self-care can take many

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Self-Care

forms but what it is at its root is taking time for yourself that involves self-reflection, introspections, and/or physical activity that leaves time for the first two items. That my physical activity for me means that I will at some point have a moment of quiet where I will be able to push out the distractions and think about my behavior and how my behavior affected those around me. This then leads into how I want to try and change my behavior for the better.

 

“Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health” –PsychCentral

I have the hardest time with finding the balance to give myself time and give time to the rest of my obligations. I usually err on the side of giving too much to my outsides obligations. I also find self-care harder to implement when depressed however I have drastic improvements when I prioritize self-care.

When I take the time to ride my bike or do yoga or meditate especially if I do it in the morning I find my mind is more organized and ready to concentrate at the task at hand. This make me more efficient and effective at completing these tasks which is why I classify self-care under efficiency.

How do you take care of yourself? Have you noticed it helps your efficiency?

Efficiency and adventure sports

I have been fortunate enough to participate in a few different adventure sports (whitewater kayaking and rafting, rock climbing, canyoneering, downhill mountain biking, scuba diving, skiing, backpacking) and exposed to others through friends (ice climbing, mountaineering, paragliding, skydiving) a common theme that I have seen throughout them all is efficiency. You have minimum amount of equipment that makes any of these sports possible. After you have taken care of the minimum requirements you try to be as efficient as possible. Each sport has a unique techniques and objectives but not a single one is inefficient.

 

It is an interesting dichotomy because I would say that going out of your way to do an adventure sport is a labor of love and might not be the most efficient habit in your life but so needed at times. In order to spend more time in these hobbies taking care of your gear as efficiently as possible a best practice and is paramount to your safety.

  • When climbing you try to find the best route and conserve energy.
  • Scuba diving you try to move as efficiently as possible and conserve your air supply.
  • Kayaking and rafting you are working on having the most efficient stroke (with your core not your arms)
  • Canyoneering you travel light and are finding the most efficient route through the canyon
  • Backpacking you are moving quickly and want to have as light a pack as possible.
  • Ice climbing and mountaineering you are moving as fast as possible for safety and efficiency
  • Mountain biking I am trying to find the most efficient path down the trail

I know that because I have a natural affinity for efficiency that I will probably see efficiency in all things but what I hope is by talking about the different examples people are able to see that is not a dry boring subject. That it is something that can enable fun and happiness. How are is efficiency bringing happiness into your hobbies?

Why efficiency?

Why am I writing about efficiency?

  • Because it is something that I have a natural affinity for.
    • I have always enjoyed a well-organized space with a place to put everything away so that I could find stuff. (Trust me all my different roommates and loved ones know this about me)
    • The amount of time I have wasted by not putting stuff away and later searching for it is time I could have spent doing something more valuable.
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Organize!
  • Because I think it improves the quality of my life and I want to help other improve the quality of their lives also.
    • I think being efficient and effective can lead to a better quality of life for all involved. Not for the sake of being efficient but because of the results of being efficient and effective.
    • If you run your organization in an efficient and effective manner you will be able to serve your customers better and your employees will be better utilized.
    • I think time is the most precious resource and I want to do whatever is necessary to make the most of my time here on earth and being efficient and effective is how I get more time to do the things I love.
  • For tasks, I don’t want to have to do but they are necessary to get done I would prefer to get them done in the least amount of time possible but still have quality work
  • I have found certain tools that help me, I don’t think the particular tools are important I think finding tools that you are willing to use consistently is important

Why I think it should be important to others?

  • Because I want to help others have more time to live better quality lives
  • Because I don’t think it has to be hard or overwhelming and I want to show others that.
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    Follow the process!
    • Attempting to implement new systems for efficiency all at once either in your personal lives or your business can be overwhelming and set yourself up for failure.
    • Watching someone else struggle and get stressed out because they can’t find paperwork or keys to me is a “gimme” for fixing with a system that would increase their efficiency.
    • Small changes are the easiest way to make sustainable changes
  • I am not selling anything I just want to help as many people as possible be able to say that they didn’t waste time on inefficient systems and process.

Comment below and tell me how I can help you.

 

Inefficiency

What is inefficient?

  • Multi-tasking
  • Rigidity
  • Saying “yes” to too many things
  • Poor time management

Multi-Tasking has been proven multiple time to not be an effective way to get tasks accomplished. Sure, you can pat your belly and rub your head or vice versa but will you do either task as well if you did them individually? I can watch TV and write this blog post but it will take me twice as long. Research around multi-tasking has shown that when you divide your attention between two different tasks that it is the equivalent of dropping 15 IQ points. I don’t know about you but I need all the brain power I can get. Multi-tasking is a hard habit to break. The more focus you can bring on a task the more efficient and effective you will be while accomplishing that task.

Rigidity in how you function or in business processes that you employee can be a blocker to efficiency. You need to allow yourself enough time and slack to account for unforeseen events and circumstances. If you don’t allow yourself to ever deviate from your plan even when things change you will end up being ineffective and inefficient. If you need to go from point A to point B and it turns out point A is at the bottom of a hill and point B is at the top of the hill the if you don’t allow yourself to deviate from a straight path you might spend more time and energy than if you had taken the path with switchbacks. In business if you are not able to change your plan when circumstance dictate the need you might find yourself out of business. It might mean tweaking a product or finding a different vertical to sell into.

Saying “yes” to too many things means you either don’t have a handle on your task capacity or have yet to learn how to nicely say “no”. If you have too much on your plate you will be under stress and possibly rushing tasks not giving your most effective work. If you are under above normal stress you will not be performing at your top level. If you are not able to devote the actual time required to perform a task fully or effectively then you are doing yourself and whomever you are doing the task for a disservice.

Poor time management is a phrase I have heard and experienced the consequences of

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Tick Tock

many times. From brilliant people, I have heard many times that they are horrible at estimating the time tasks will take them. I have seen clients and loved ones upset because a person was not able to accurately assess how long a task would take them. I agree that estimation can be hard however I do not think that it is a skill that is emphasized. If you are able to accurately estimate and manage the time that tasks take you will be more effective and efficient in the execution of those tasks.

Comment below and tell me what else is inefficient.

Efficiency and Quality

Why being efficient means you need to have a robust quality system whichever framework you choose. Having a system in place to deal with quality issues and try to prevent quality issues is more efficient than dealing with them after they have gone out to the customer.

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Looking for issues

Let’s start with background:

You may have heard the terms quality assurance and quality control intermingled in their use. They are not the same thing quality assurance is the process that helps you produce a quality product and quality control is part of the process that involves testing the product to see if it conforms to the standards set out by the organization.

A quality management system is part of you quality assurance it helps you govern your processes.

Quality Management System:

ISO 9000: ISO 9000 is a set of international standards on quality management and quality assurance developed to help companies effectively document the quality system elements to be implemented to maintain an efficient quality system. They are not specific to any one industry and can be applied to organizations of any size.

There are multiple frameworks including custom ones that are used. Three of the most well known are below.

Quality Management System Frameworks:

  • Lean
  • Six Sigma
  • Total Quality Management

All the frameworks have pros and cons to them and some work better in different industries. Though I have opinions about what works the best in the organizations that I have personally worked in but I would not presume to rate the frameworks for organization that I am not personally involved in.  With that said what I am passionate about and opinionated about is the need for a consistent application of a QMS. If you have a system in place that works along with your other processes and systems you will be able to deal with quality issues in a efficient manner. If you are dealing with quality issues in a timely manner and have processes in place to keep them from becoming a systemic problem your company as a whole will be more efficient because it will prevent wasted time and resources.

Anytime you can implement a system that makes you more efficient and effective you are making your organization better. Comment below and tell me how you have improved your organization through efficiency.

 

Efficiency and Sustainability = $ Savings

In any production environment the more efficiently you can use your raw materials the better it is for your bottom line and environmental sustainability. A majority of the raw materials that are used in today’s products that are not from organic sources are what you could consider a finite material. Meaning what is currently on this earth is all that is available to us. That is compounded with the ease of access to these materials. I am sure you have heard about rare earth minerals that are used in making todays technological tools like phones and TVs. The name rare earth minerals gives the wrong impression. The minerals are actually quite common in the earth’s crust they just are not often concentrated in a manner that makes mining them economical. So, though it is often though that by being sustainable are incurring more costs. That may be true of the upfront costs but not the long-term costs. If you harvest the easy to find copper that leaves you with the harder to harvest copper. Same with other commodities like fish and wood. As soon as you add on more labor costs or processing costs the amount you will end up paying for that raw material.

I would point out that we are probably not going to stop consuming most of the raw material resources that are currently being utilized. Yes, there are people out there working on technologies that might change some of the resources needed but we need to look at how we can save money now and in the future. I would say that one of the ways of not occurring those costs is to be more efficient and effective in the current uses of those resources. Optimizing your process may increase your overall costs currently but

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Data for ROI

by looking at how your company uses the raw materials they need from the cradle to the grave to build product you would be able to do a cost analysis of your current process and one of an optimized and updated process and be able to determine what the return on investment is. Once you have done this you’ll be able to address certain questions and manipulate your model. What price point does a raw material need to hit to make the optimization happen sooner? What price does the raw material need to stay at to keep your current processes in place? Once you have the data you and your organization will be able to make an informed decision about how to save your organization time and money in the long run by increasing its efficiency.

Comment below and tell me how you change a process to save money and be efficient?

Efficiency, systems, and startups

I have had the pleasure of working both in organizations that have well established

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System ideas

systems and startups where I have gotten to participate in the building of the systems. Some may have the impression that startups ensue systems and that part of the reason they are able to disrupt the industries is because they are not beholden to rigid systems. Let me share my experiences with you and the hypothesizes I have developed due to those experiences.

 

  • Systems are helpful and essential in any size organization
  • Systems can be stifling if there is not a process to update or change them when they are not working for the betterment of organization
  • Systems can free up organizations to explore creatively

 

Systems are helpful and essential in any size organization. In a large and small organizations, you need systems to help run the place. Systems for finance, manufacturing if making a product, and how your organization is going to achieve growth. First off so many startups have failed because they failed to pay attention to their finances. Having a robust system around your finances should not inhibit scaling or creativity but it will let you weigh your choices based upon your runway. The reasons for having a finance system in a large company are obvious however the system that is implemented needs to be flexible enough that your business stays solvent but that you don’t hold the purse strings so tight that you retard growth.

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Startups

Systems can be stifling if there is not a process to update or change them when they are not working for the betterment of organization. Systems are meant to improve the efficiency and effective use of your time and resources. If they are so ridged that they are costing your organization time and resources the system is either not implemented correctly or the wrong system for your company. If your employees are having to work outside of the system or are making exceptions to the system often because to work within the system is too onerous then it is too ridged and is costing you time and resources.

Systems can free up organizations to explore creatively. If your organization has implemented systems correctly then you should see more time and resources freed up for other uses. If your organization is then operating more efficiently and effectively with the same amount of resource you suddenly have more resources to put towards creative endeavors that could propel your company to the next stage of growth. If this is a possibility why wouldn’t you either examine your existing systems to improve them or implement some?

 

Comment below and tell me if your experiences have proven out different theories.

Supply chain , blockchain, and efficiency

I have spent the better part of a decade as an active participant in the supply chain fulfilling different role. I have been a in the ordering, receiving, and producing roles in the supply chain. Participating in all these different roles of the supply chain has made me empathize with others that are fulfilling the different roles in the supply chain. It has also given me a global view of the whole process and an appreciation for when it runs efficiently.

As our supply chains cross boarders, the less control we have of the process. If you get a poor-quality part or late delivery from another country it can be exceedingly difficult to resolve the issues. The rise of counterfeit parts has been an ongoing problem also. All of these issues add to the complexity and inefficiency that can plague the supply chain.

There are several companies out there that are trying to solve the issues and inefficiency in the supply chain through distributed ledger technology(DLT). Several different DLTs are being

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Photo by David McBee from Pexels

leveraged like blockchain and Ethereum. The idea is that through the better traceability in both the financials and the provenance from the cradle to grave in the process the supply chain will become more efficient and effective. Adding in the ability for machines to certify through DLT that the part they made is the part you ordered and received will be a huge step in reducing counterfeit products in the supply chain. All these changes together will improve the revenue for all parties involved. The insurance companies will benefit through the traceability, the cost of the parts should decrease due to the elimination of counterfeit parts in the market, and the final price to the customer should decrease because of the improved process and cost savings that can be passed on.

Large companies are implementing the blockchain in their own supply chains to optimize their processes. There are also a few different startups that are competing in this space also. It will be interesting to see who rises to the top to improve the supply chain process. Comment below and tell me who you think will be the best in the space.

Efficiency and health

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, these are my opinions and should not be taken as fact. In fact, I suggest that you do not choose to take the opinions expressed here or life in general too seriously.

I am in the process of trying to reclaim my health. I am trying to harness my natural proclivity for efficiency and processes to build a robust system that will help me do just that.

To reclaim my health, I am implementing a multi tired system with multiple processes. Of course, I want these processes in the system to work together efficiently and compliment the other processes I have in place. The first tier and process I have in place

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Food picture from Pexels

is around the food that I consume. First, I have a schedule and process setup to facilitate adhering to a type of eating that I have deemed healthy for myself. I find if I do not stick to my processes I will easily go off track and eat in a manner that does not enable my health endeavors. I think the type of eating style I am pursuing is less important than consistency. To maintain consistency I have dedicated one day a week to meal preparation, I make good use of an instant pot, plastic containers, and multi meal planning. Any meals I plan at least make four meals. I have come to realize if I go over board and make a meal that I would have to eat everyday during the week I will become bored with it and also go off plan. Part of designing an efficient and robust process is planning for the boredom. I do this by freezing some of what I prepare and making sure I have multiple flavors to choose from during the week.

The second process of the system is exercise. I have struggled with part as of late and I am currently trying to implement a more robust process that is in all honesty harder to self-sabotage. I am my own worst enemy. Currently I power lift three times a week.

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Mountain Biking Picture from Pexels

I have found with whatever other exercise I participate in being strong is always to my advantage. I am never going to be a world class athlete or participate in a sport that requires me to loss muscle mass. I also will never get to the size with power lifting that it hinders any of the other activities I like to do. I have determined that I need to find a way to include other exercise in my daily routine. I hate treadmills, and other similar types of exercise equipment where you work hard and go nowhere. I am not a natural runner but I will take a run outside with my dogs over the treadmill in the gym any day. I am currently experimenting with morning yoga followed by tabata workout. I hope that as this becomes habit I will find the motivation to start riding my bikes again which is something I use to really love doing. Due to the current circumstances of my life I have to get my exercise in the morning or weekend.

The third process I have implemented is emotional and mental health. I have been trying

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Emotions picture from Pexels

out different mindfulness exercises that I use after yoga. These mindfulness exercises are to help me improve my daily interaction with others. If I am able to be positive in the majority of the interactions I have with others no matter their behavior I will feel better emotionally. I also have been listening to audio books on tape and have several books on my reading list that are either about emotional intelligence or nonviolent communication to improve or change my own behaviors. I have no control over others just my own behavior. I find this to be one of the hardest tasks to put into a process. I hope with practice it becomes like y other processes and naturally becomes part of my system of self-care.

All of these processes working together are part of my whole life system. The smoother I can make that system run the better. The better my systems are the more I can do for myself and others. My belief is that through efficient systems I can live a better life. Even if the only improvement I see is being able to spend more time playing with my dogs that day I still consider that an improvement. Tell me below in the comments what you do to make your life better.