I have recently been enjoying parable based books to learn new things and to gain confidence that my own analysis and plans are “right” in the world of business. Reading a fictionalized version of important information helps me to apply learning and see nuances rather than just read dry facts. Recently, I listened to The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim and learned how they describe four different kinds of work.
In this podcast, I will introduce you to the first two kinds of work. I then also share my thinking about how these kinds of work are also present in our home and household lives. By thinking about these kinds of work, we can get better work patterns and be more effective in the work we do.
Constraints – constraints are limits that are difficult or impossible to change – in this episode, I give examples of time, money, and space. When we do not have enough of these things, it can be a limit on our organization and productivity, and changing our situation can require a major effort.
Bottlenecks – are problems that can be analyzed and solved – in this episode, I give examples of time, money, and space. I explain how we are not using what we have effectively. It is vital to discern whether you are facing a constraint or a bottleneck – many times there are effective changes you can make.
Work: Firefighting – reactive work that has deadlines, stress, or feels like a crisis. This work shows up unexpectedly and causes us to pivot, iterate, and adapt rapidly. In the home, the Sunday Basket® contains and then puts out fires. Firefighting is reactive by its very nature.
Work: Planned Work – Planned work is proactive. When you plan your work, you use your time, money, and space more effectively. Organize 365 members accomplish large goals without stress, overwork, or being hurried. The Productive Home Solution focuses on planned work. Each day is planned out for you and you make progress in 15 minute chunks.
Try it! For the next 10 days, every evening I want you to write out your plan for the next day in the order you will accomplish your tasks on a notecard. Write down your appointments, any household tasks you need to accomplish (pick up a prescription or clean the oven or do laundry). When you write out a plan for your day in order, you can see if you days are smoother. Bonus: the evening before, also add to the index card what clothing you will wear and write down what you will eat. Spoiler alert – there are no perfect days and no perfect plans! The goal is to move from reactive to proactive. You can learn more about using notecards in Episode 310: Ditch Your To Do List with Notecards.
Listen in next week for the other two kinds of work!
Books mentioned in this episode (affiliate links):
Get a Grip – Gino Wickman and Mike Paton
The Phoenix Project – Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford
The Goal – Eliyahu Goldratt