A busy Life
For the start of these episodes go to http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/
I asked Jillian, once, how she managed time so she could fit so much into her busy life. She always seemed to be occupied with one task or another and they all appeared to just work; and I wondered how it all was managed in the background.
“Cheaper By The Dozen”, she replied somewhat enigmatically.
“Ya what?” I quizzed.
“It's a book,” she said,“ written in 1948, I think. By Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth.”
“It was a biographical novel based on their life.”
“Of course.” I said. Thus earning the first evil eye of the day. I mean a novel based on a person's life would indeed be a biographical novel, wouldn't it?
She continued, “They were two of twelve children and their parents were industrial engineers who specialised in motion study. Father, Frank was particularly obsessed with finding the most efficient ways to complete tasks in life and often used his children as case studies. Mother, Lillian was a psychologist who factored human emotions into the science of the mechanics of motion study.
“I still remember the book – I read it as a child and even today I find myself checking that I am doing stuff in the most time efficient manner. I guess that's how it all fits together
Today, they'd probably call it Process Improvement and use various models for example: 6 Sigma, SPC, TQM and LEAN to name a few, to explain it.
“While I employ”, she continued, “the normal time management theories of Steven Covey, Steve Pavlina and even your favourite man Tony Robbins's Rapid Planning Method (RPM); I find that doing stuff more efficiently saves huge amounts of time as well. The essence of time management is twofold:
- Decide what to do
- Do it.”
(My God she is so sounding like my university lecturers. Of course I just thought this and did not actually SAY anything. I am much more clever than that.)
“I add to this,” she continued the dissertation.
“Do it efficiently and effectively.
“Hence the reference to the book 'Cheaper By The Dozen'”
“OK.” I interrupted. “Good. Thanks for this, but my original question was about fitting all the stuff you do into your life. I still don't see how you do it?”
“Well, that's simple,” she said, “I just put all the stuff I need to do in my diary and figure out what is most important at the time they pop up and do it or postpone it or dump it altogether. A simple process of elimination really. All based on values and my life plan, of course.”
Before getting even more confused, I decided to draw a line in the sand and leave it at that. Except for the book. That time and motion study stuff intrigued me.
Back to the Book
“Tell me more about that book,” I said.
“OK.” she looked up at me, “It might sound a bit silly but here goes. In the book Frank did things like applying shaving cream with two brushes – one on each side of his face - to speed up the process. Now while I, obviously, (and she glared up just daring me to say something. Silence. Discretion being the better part of valour on this occasion) don't do that, I did follow some of his other suggestions re timing of a number of sub-tasks needed to accomplish a larger undertaking. For example - this morning at breakfast I stopped myself to have a little think about whether I should put the toast in before I started the coffee machine. What operation would take the longest and could be done parallel with another, rather than them all being done in series with waiting time in between. Stringing tasks all together in one long critical path seemed more efficient. When it was all over I had about 2 or 3 mins more to relax with coffee before beginning on the next main event. If I do that all the time, for everything I do, I get a lot of free time to myself during and at the end of each day. It's what keeps me sane. And I feel really great when I achieve an efficiency in a task and make my life and time more effective. It is really fantastic.
As I felt a smile gathering itself around my eyes and lips I turned away faking a cough.
“See,” she laughed, “I knew you'd think it was weird.”
Oh Jillian. This time I wished I'd never asked. #ourjillian