Time Woes

Have you ever noticed how fast time moves?

Time moves forward one second at a time in a relentless fashion. Seconds become minutes, then hours become days, and months become years, and finally, here I am in November wondering whatever happened to the Fourth of July. I am shocked that time never takes a timeout. What is that all about.

There’s something that we have to learn, and many do not learn this until it’s too late. The thought is ignored even though the warning signs, statements, and cute kitsch are found everywhere. The simple truth, each second, minute, hour, day, or year can never be retaken.

This leads us to another simple truth. Time leaves us whether we use that are not. You can’t save it up for an emergency or that planned future vacation. And no one else can control your reaction to time. You use it on something important to you, or you lose it. All of this is up to you.

Take a couple minutes and write down everything that’s important to you. Then put priorities to the list. Ask yourself, are you sitting in a room for days looking at how messy it is and how unkempt? Or are you taking 10 minutes to put pick everything up, throw the trash away, and put everything else back where it belongs? So how much time are you really going to spend in a dirty room, 10 minutes or days?

Please don’t think I’m preaching. Actually, I believe I’m talking to myself.

Complacency

Complacency is something that will sneak up on all of us.

People love habits. They like the feeling of accomplishment. They love knowing that things are done. And they like the ease of living that good habits will give the people who use them wisely. More often than not many of us will also fail at long-running good habits.

If you don’t believe me, please take a poll about six weeks after New Year’s day. How many people you talk to set up goals for the new year, and within six weeks, have already failed at them? Did they not care? Did they not believe? Did they not try? The truth is they did care, they did believe in they did try.

In teaching new forklift drivers, safety and control are taught and preached for hours both in the classroom and during driver training on the forklift. You would think that most accidents would happen within a few weeks after the training, while the new drivers are still what behind the ears. Not so.

Most accidents for new drivers of forklifts, according to the statistics, happened about three months after training. Why? Complacency. Brand-new drivers are very cautious. They stick to every safety rule. And, they keep the speeds very low. About the three-month mark, new forklift drivers become complacent. They start to get a little sloppy in their safety, speed increases a little and the next thing you know, they bump into something. Sometimes they bump into someone.

Are they bad people? Do these accident-prone drivers not care? No. They did so well for three months driving the forklift that they started to let their guard down. Often, they don’t even recognize it.

These drivers were taught well. Were watched to ensure good habits were being formed. And, did a good job. Complacency just sneaks up on them.

The trick is if you like the results a habit gives you, pay attention and keep it up. Don’t  become complacent.

Yes, I Probably Should

Many people claim that they don’t like or want habits because they just do things when they’re needed. The truth of the matter is people don’t do things when they’re needed. They wait till everything is piled up, and it’s hard to walk across the floor, and you can’t see the sink anymore. Then the idea comes to mind, “I ought to clean this up.”

Usually, as we finish cleaning something up, it dawns on us that the time and work wasn’t too bad. And, as good as the place looks we should do this on a regular basis. And yes, I probably should.

When they’re up and fully running, habits are wonderful. Trying to get a habit up and running is tough. Times don’t work out, things get in the way, and believe it or not sometimes I just get tired.

I have to tell you I do not believe in bribery. I have been known, though, to initiate positive behavior modification. Positive behavior modification is a lot better than bribery. I modify behavior to meet a needed objective by having an incentive which is highly desired and only given after the modification conditions are fully met.

I want the dishes done every night and the kitchen cleaned before we watch TV. However, there are good shows on early in the evening, and I don’t want to miss any of them. Okay, how do I make this work?

I can clean the kitchen as I cook dinner, rinse and stack the dinner dishes into the dishwasher, and if full start it. If I get creative, I could spend about three or four minutes after each meal I eat, to rinse the dishes and stack them in the dishwasher. I could also pick up the kitchen as I cook whatever meal I’m eating. And that would also save time.

Please comment and tell me what other chores plague you, what you think a significant incentive would be to complete them, and how you would make them a habit.

Take A Look

We all have work we want to do in life, and we all have work we have to do in life.

If we are lucky, we like the work we do. Yet, some of the work is important whether we like it or not? When we get to this point, we need to stop and think for a moment.

Am I about to tell you that you don’t have to do work that you don’t like? Sorry, no. Some work we do not enjoy is still very important work. Instead, when faced with a task you don’t really want to do, stop and consider for a second.

Stop and consider why the task needs to be done. Consider what will happen if the task is not done. I hate to mow the lawn and trim the trees. So, I have some things to consider. Consider what the yard could look like if I did not do anything. Overgrown, bushes turning into trees, and havoc sprouting up everywhere. It would be a real unsightly mess. I may get some comments, but I sure wouldn’t like them.

Next, consider what the yard would look like if you did a half-hearted job. Wayward bushes and trees may be knocked down, most of the grass would be cut, you might even pile the trash into a central location. Yet the place would only look so-so. Would this really make you happy? Will it make you feel good? Or would it just be one more task done until you have to do it again?

Then, think of what the yard would look like if you really set out to do a good job. Trash bagged and ready for removal, the grass neatly trimmed with care and edges clean and straight, sidewalks swept, and proper maintenance of the lawn. Wow, this may take half the day or more. Just think of how you’ll feel about a good-looking yard when the work is done. Consider how future effort will be easier as long as the yard is kept up and maintenance may end up as little as a couple of hours a week, and that time may be spread over many days.

All of us are individuals, and as such, we all have things we do not like to do. We just need to look through the work, to see if we like the outcome.

Protect What Is Valuable as We Move Forward

Sometimes when we live with jewels all of our life, we forget what is really precious. We sometimes take for granted the things that work so well. And, tend to ignore those people  that are always there.

When we make a change, the ripples of the change affect everything and everyone around us. The larger the change, the stronger the ripples around us are; and the more those who are near to us are affected. It is important that we are cognizant of, and pay attention, to those concerns.

Have you ever been in an earthquake? Having lived around the world, I have been in several earthquakes. Some that were over as soon as they started, and some that seemed to go on forever. The truth is, the time of earthquakes is usually shorter than you think. The reason it feels longer is that you don’t know when it’s going to stop. Just like the earthquake, ripples that are caused by the change of one person affect others more deeply when they do not know what is going on or where the changes are headed.

There is a really neat way to help dampen the ripples of change for both you and those around you. The nice thing is it doesn’t cost anything, it takes very little time, it provides everybody involved some great support. Just sit down with those concerned and talk to them about what is going on.

It’s amazing that when people know, they can work as a team and together they can do all sorts of wonderful things to meet challenges.  To grow, to move in  directions, and to set the basis to ultimately succeed, no matter what the odds are.  Whether you are moving to a new city, changing jobs, planning a retirement, or any number of other things, sit down with those around you and whatever you do you discuss it and do it together.

That is one mean old master sergeant’s thought for the day. Try talking to those around you, especially the ones you care about, and you’ll be surprised how much support and teamwork you actually will gain.

Talk to you again tomorrow, have a great one out there.

Inspire Someone

Thanks, we are glad to have you here with us again!

Have you been thinking about what we’ve been talking about this week? Have you been writing things down? This is your life. I think we each only get one, and it is important that you have the chance to live the life that does you honor.

I have been taking a course on various companies. Learning what motivated them. Learning about their passions. Learning what it took to become viable and sustainable. For the founders of these companies, it truly is work. It is the work of fulfilling their passion.

Two kids from the same high school, one in ends up flipping burgers and salting fries. The other is driving Mercedes and taking vacations to Hawaii. Why?

Think of life as trade offs. 

Even better, think of where your passions live.  What do you need to do to fulfill them?  And, how that helps others because if done right, you could inspire generations that come after you. Don’t believe me?  Three words: Disney, Ford, Edison.

Hidden Factories???

Up until now, we’ve talked about systems and habits at home. Most workplaces also have systems in habits. Some of those systems and habits probably work well. Some could always work better with a little improvement.

There is always the formal workplace and the informal workplace. Both are important to the business. One is the direct channel that management uses to set up processes and requirements and to maintain the actions needed for the business to be sustained. The other is the method by which the workers take what management dictates and makes it happen.

As I said, one does not work well without the other. Smart management and smart workers know this. The really smart companies don’t set up new systems and requirements until the management and workers have sat down together and gone over them.

On the other hand, sometimes management sends down new processes that it expects to have implemented within two weeks. The workers who actually do the work day in and day out look at the new processes, find the places where it does not work well, and simply substitutes whatever they feel it takes to complete what they think should be accomplished. When this happens, no one is happy.

Changes always work best with good, logical explanations and positive agreement before implementation.  Without this step, your new systems have just turned into hidden factories.

What is a hidden factory?  Join us Monday for our next blog, and I will tell you all about it.