Lean at home: eliminate waste, build people


What is Lean?  And what in the world is Lean at Home?

The short answer is, Lean at Home is a way of living where you and your family get to have more fun and less stress.  🙂

Most business people know what lean thinking is, even if they don’t use it themselves.  However, most moms do not!  Which is a pity, as going lean is one of the best things a mom can do for her family.  Why?  Because the two pillars that lean is built on, are eliminating waste and building people.

The main idea with lean is that you can do what you do, better.  Each of us is doing something, and could do it better.

  • A bike manufacturer is making bikes, and could do it better.

  • A teacher is teaching, and could do it better.

  • A mom is…well…a mom is raising children, amid the daily grind of laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, sick tummies and so on…and could do all of it better.

Note that the key word is better, not more.  I don’t know of anyone who wants to do more laundry – but what if you could make the process of doing laundry better, so it took less time to do?  When you’re constantly doing what you do, better – that is when you are embracing continuous improvement.  You never get to the point of perfection, but you’re always getting closer to it.

To do things better, you must eliminate waste from everything you do.  Here’s one tiny example of waste in the laundry process:  every night you drop your skirt on the floor instead of hanging it up to wear another time; in the morning you scoop it up with the rest of the dirty laundry, put it in the hamper, and feel pretty good because your bedroom floor is tidy.  Well, hold on a minute – assuming you could usually wear your skirt 2 days instead of 1 by hanging it up, you would launder more than 180 extra skirts each year – and that means 180 extra times to the laundry room, moving them from the washer to the dryer, hanging them up, ironing them, and returning them to your cupboard.  See why it’s worth it to improve your evening process and discipline yourself to hang your skirt up instead?! Obviously that’s an initial example that most moms have long since figured out, but you get the picture.  (Click here for more help with your laundry process!)

Now don’t think for a moment that going lean will leave you with no time to do things like go to the park with your kids or literally stop to smell the roses.  The opposite is in fact true.  Building people takes time, and when you constantly eliminate waste from everything you do, the compound effect is more time to do the important things, like spend time with your kids at the park.

Since my family has been moving towards a lean environment, we have far more time to do the things we want to do. This is because the things we don’t want to do are in two categories:  A) does not need to be done, so we don’t do them; or B) needs to be done whether we like it or not, so we improve the process of doing them until it is nearly painless.

So, what’s next?  Now the you’re convinced there is a better way, what’s the first step?  Of course, it starts with getting yourself a coffee and exploring this site.  🙂  Give yourself about 15 minutes.  The blog has TONS of useful info; setting goals, overcoming a bad day, continuous improvement.

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