Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Instead of making lists



A visit to the zoo always gives me ideas for improving things. It's a delight to observe animals for a while and realize how easy life can be. It makes me question aspects of my life that I consider essential. Some of those aspects are so entrenched that I need a chimpanzee's fresh view to help me gain perspective.

While I was watching chimpanzees play, I
realized that I had forgotten my agenda in the car. Even when I turned my attention again to the monkeys, my mind kept thinking of the agenda. My eyes were looking straight ahead, but I was no longer seeing the animals in front of me.

I was trying to remember which meetings I had scheduled for the following day, but did that make any sense? If those meetings were so essential, why wasn't I able to remember them right away? The answer was, of course, that those appointments were far from being important.

It took me a few minutes to reconnect with the reality at the zoo. In the meantime,
lunch time had arrived for the chimpanzees, which looked all happy and relaxed. The animals picked up the fruits just delivered by the zoo caretaker and sat down peacefully to enjoy their meal in the sun.

Did the chimpanzees go through the same routine everyday? Most likely, I speculated. For sure, they don't need an agenda to remember something they do everyday at pretty much the same time. Even if they had an agenda, they probably would not use it at all, since only their routines are really important.

Interesting idea. Only what you do on a regular basis, week after week, year in, year out, is going to help you develop deep expertise in a given field. Marathon runners train for months, usually daily, always at the same hour, following the same path. Great doctors follow their proven routine in order to arrive at a correct diagnostic. Day after day, they become even a little better at it.

Agendas and lists of tasks are tools that we often use for anticipating disruptions. On the other side, are successful factory managers not primarily focused on eliminating disruptions? The purpose of preventive maintenance is to reduce to zero any time wasted putting out fires or fixing broken machines.

The chimpanzees' happy routines remind me that I should be concentrating on performing my own favourite routines instead of making lists of upcoming disruptions. Would it be so bad if I threw my agenda away altogether? What would be the consequences of my forgetting inconsequential deviations and focusing only on the essentials?

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Sir Mervs under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Instead of making lists



A visit to the zoo always gives me ideas for improving things. It's a delight to observe animals for a while and realize how easy life can be. It makes me question aspects of my life that I consider essential. Some of those aspects are so entrenched that I need a chimpanzee's fresh view to help me gain perspective.

While I was watching chimpanzees play, I
realized that I had forgotten my agenda in the car. Even when I turned my attention again to the monkeys, my mind kept thinking of the agenda. My eyes were looking straight ahead, but I was no longer seeing the animals in front of me.

I was trying to remember which meetings I had scheduled for the following day, but did that make any sense? If those meetings were so essential, why wasn't I able to remember them right away? The answer was, of course, that those appointments were far from being important.

It took me a few minutes to reconnect with the reality at the zoo. In the meantime,
lunch time had arrived for the chimpanzees, which looked all happy and relaxed. The animals picked up the fruits just delivered by the zoo caretaker and sat down peacefully to enjoy their meal in the sun.

Did the chimpanzees go through the same routine everyday? Most likely, I speculated. For sure, they don't need an agenda to remember something they do everyday at pretty much the same time. Even if they had an agenda, they probably would not use it at all, since only their routines are really important.

Interesting idea. Only what you do on a regular basis, week after week, year in, year out, is going to help you develop deep expertise in a given field. Marathon runners train for months, usually daily, always at the same hour, following the same path. Great doctors follow their proven routine in order to arrive at a correct diagnostic. Day after day, they become even a little better at it.

Agendas and lists of tasks are tools that we often use for anticipating disruptions. On the other side, are successful factory managers not primarily focused on eliminating disruptions? The purpose of preventive maintenance is to reduce to zero any time wasted putting out fires or fixing broken machines.

The chimpanzees' happy routines remind me that I should be concentrating on performing my own favourite routines instead of making lists of upcoming disruptions. Would it be so bad if I threw my agenda away altogether? What would be the consequences of my forgetting inconsequential deviations and focusing only on the essentials?

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Sir Mervs under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]