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Posts Tagged ‘time management’

Have you created your Daily Schedule?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Written By: Paul Steven – KCTS Consultant

Recently I have returned to classic Time Management as a way to improve my Value Added to Non-Value Added ratio. I found that I am lacking the self discipline to ignore the interesting but ultimately Non-Value Added activities that were part of my routine, I needed a system to help me. Of course, systems are consistent to my vocation as a Lean Consultant, so Time Management, and specifically my 100 Day Planning Handbook, became part of my daily life.



The first habit was to keep it with me, thanks to colleagues and customers I have not lost the physical handbook yet. Despite my efforts to leave it on my desk, in meeting or on public transport, I still have it with me all the time. Secondly, I had to get into the routine of ensure planning my days, reviewing my action completion, and even rating my days via the “Moodometer”.

This is now a consistent habit as I work on Week 4. My challenge this week is to use my Daily Schedule. This presented a dilemma, as working as a Lean Consultant, each day is different. Some days I may be delivering problem solving with a leadership team, but equally I might be teaching theory & practise to a mixed group, or participating in TPM activities with operators and technicians, or presenting to executives, or coaching leadership techniques one-to-one or even delivering e-learning to hundreds of participants. How can I write a Daily Schedule? Words of wisdom came from our MD, I should concentrate on the generic activities rather than the specifics to build my version 1.

I have blocked routine times for my regular NVAR activities and I am now realistic about my current Value Adding activities each day. I have my previous 4 weeks of data to judge my estimating skills. They started extremely over-optimistic but quickly became too conservative and now include minimum & stretch targets daily. So my version 1 Standard Diary is as follows:

  • Take kids to day-care (when not travelling)
  • Emails & planning adjustment
  • Electronic Daily Stand-Up Meeting (E-DSUM)
  • 1st Delivery of VA
  • Coffee, calls & mental break
  • 2nd Delivery of VA
  • Lunch with time outside of the factory/office
  • Emails & re-planning, plus administration (expenses, printing, postal)
  • 3rd Delivery of VA
  • Coffee, Twitter & mental break
  • 4th Delivery of VA
  • Coffee & mental break
  • Emails, Twitter, calls
  • Review of Delivery & Plan for Tomorrow


This is still version 1, but by using a Standard Diary I know I can experiment and improve or return to current-best-standard as needed. The question is whether I can keep the rigour of looking at emails only 3 times per day. If you’re using a Standard Diary, please let me know how you’re getting on.

Not Another Meeting!!!

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Written By: Cordell Hensley – KCTS Consultant

When was the last time you went to a meeting and walked out at the end and said “That was time well spent”? If you have a job, then odds are, you usually have the opposite opinion at the end of most meetings – you walk out thinking “that was a waste of my time”.

I used to sit in some meetings and count the number of people, figure an average annual salary and then calculate how much money the company was wasting discussing whatever happened to be the topic. I was once in a meeting with 27 managers, averaging around £38,000 in annual salaries and we were discussing what we should do with the cleaning kit on the shop floor! You can imagine how happy I was to be there!

It doesn’t have to be that way! Meetings, while technically Non Value Added (NVA) activities, can be an effective way of ensuring that progress is made, that people are on track and to provide support or at least the opportunity to ask for support. They can also be places to make decisions, assign responsibility for actions and to communicate important issues.

How do we ensure that our meetings are effective? The first thing to do is to ensure we are clear about the purpose of the meeting. A friend of mine once went to a meeting and began by asking the person who had called him to the meeting “what are we here for?” The response was to get agreement on the way forward for a specific project. Since my friend had already been briefed and was in agreement he replied – “Good – I agree, let’s get back to work!” By checking the purpose of the meeting first, he was able to save himself and his colleague an hour of DPP (Death by Power Point).

There are other things we can do to ensure our meetings are as efficient and effective as possible; having an agenda that everyone has seen in advance allows people to come prepared. Sticking to time and ensuring any side discussions are held until after the meeting also helps. Even assigning someone the role of watching the time and keeping people on track can ensure the meeting doesn’t run long or off track.

Meetings are almost an inevitable – like Death & Taxes – but they don’t have to be painful. With a little preparation and agreement of the purpose in advance, a meeting can be an effective tool for managing any business.

If you would like to know more about how you can improve your meeting effectiveness, please contact us here.



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