We’re All Wasting Our Time
Of course, on a metaphysical level, this could be said to be universally true.
I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.
~ Kurt Vonnegut
Then again, some folks may feel that wasting time is an important part of living.
I’m not going to go to either of those places in this post.
What Would You Like To Do Today?
@dancres recently reminded me that I had a habit of asking this question of him and others when we were working together at Familiar (circa 1998). From my perspective, as the founder of the company, I hoped for the answer “do some work”. In fact, given our shared Purpose:
“To give people the opportunity to work together to discover what fulfilment means to them as individuals.”
and Credo, it was a given that working – and working together – was a prerequisite for fulfilling that purpose. Put another way, unless folks wanted to work together – rather than, say, goof off – they might be less likely “to discover together what fulfilment means to them as individuals”. If the Familiar community did not so arrange things that working was everyone’s best and preferred option, it was failing them, and itself.
Now, I’m not suggesting that your collective purpose, in your workplace, will be the same as this. (Maybe that would be nice). But whatever your collective purpose at work, that purpose sets a context within which one can see what is a “waste of time” and what is not.
Note: Absent any clarity on “collective purpose”, I’d posit that everything is (potentially) a waste of time. How would you know otherwise?
Most Organisations Waste Around 80% of Folks’ Time
The basic Rightshifting Chart illustrates that organisations near to the median (the “1” mark on the horizontal axis) are wasting around eighty percent of their effort on non value-adding activities. Things on which neither customers nor any other stakeholders want to spend their money. That’s like doing busywork for four days out of every five-day working week! I think we all know implicitly how this happens:
- Long cycle-times
- Recovering from interference arising from other folks’ busywork (i.e. bureaucracy).
- Serial fix-on-fail approaches
- Muda, Mura and Muri
- And generally doing a whole bunch of the wrong things (with respect to the common Purpose)
How Does This Happen?
Learn To See