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Personal Waste

No, I'm not refering to your morning constitutional.  Instead I mean the waste in your daily routine that keeps you from being more productive.  Many months ago we told you about the waste of Oprah and Dr. Phil, but let's dig a bit deeper.  The Write to Right blog tells us about three easy steps to create a more productive life, and it caught my eye due to the references to some highly productive people.

"It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste time."  -Henry Ford

“We need to push ourselves to make as many reductions as possible in our own energy use first.. and that takes time. But we must do this quickly.. the climate will not wait for us.”   - Rupert Murdoch

Sounds familiar, eh?  So, how do we work to reduce personal waste?  As we might expect from the quotes above, in a manner surprisingly similar to a kaizen or value stream analysis.

    1. Evaluate your life by stating what you truly desire out of your short existence.- Many people fail to achieve their goals because they don’t know how to get what they want out of life and even worse…they don’t even know what they want. Establish your goals and visions of your existence now.
    2. Strip out the useless- Ahh…this hurts so much. Get rid of your filthy habits. Take a hard look at what you are doing in your work day and what makes you money, or generally apply that to success in whatever goals you are looking to achieve. This brings us to Pareto’s 80/20 rule. 80% of your success comes from 20% of your effort. Find where that 20% is and be willing to cut out the rest.
    3. Multiply the 20%- When you have noticed what is creating your success continue to attack and attack it more often. Be relentless. You owe it to yourself. This 20% needs to be put into the other 80% of your time. Or even one step better leverage it into someone else’s 80% for value in return that they will appreciate.

Interestingly enough, this is also very similar to what Timothy Ferriss promotes in his bestselling book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich The Four Hour Work Week, which I happened to read on a plane last weekend.  As other lean bloggers have pointed out, the concept of outsourcing some basic life activities to a personal assistant from India, such as sending flowers to your wife, is a bit extreme.  And I did find his ego to be a little overwhelming, although his description of how he used a rule interpretation to win the Chinese national kickboxing championship after training only four weeks was amusing.

However his story about his first sales job, when he realized that he could make more sales by calling from 7am to 8am and 5pm to 6pm versus the entire 8am to 5pm time frame, getting directly to the person instead of being intercepted by assistants, is spot on.  The 80-20 rule once again.  In fact, Ferriss believes Mr. Pareto changed his life.  The "new rich" as he calls them realize that wealth is not just money, but optimized time.

So just as you analyze every step in your production processes to find and destroy waste, do the same with your personal processes.  Get rid of activities that aren't creating the required return, and exploit and multiple those that are creating return. 

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