Reducing Waste & Saving Time in the New Year


1/3 update: Welcome back to work to many of you. No new post today, but the rest of the week continues on the theme of applying Lean to your own life and work – including a podcast tomorrow with Dan Markovitz.  

Well, it's the new year – 2012! Happy New Year. If you feel like 2011 slipped away from you and there wasn't enough time to get things done, this week's Lean Blog theme is starting 2012 off on the right foot – freeing up time and eliminating waste. Lean and kaizen principles are typically applied to the workplace, but we can apply the same mindsets to everything we do.

Over the Christmas break, I caught up on episodes of one of my favorite podcasts – Lifehacker. The Lifehacker blog and podcast are all about tips and tricks you can use for improving (or “hacking”) your life. It's not “Lean” per se, but much of what they talk about is “Like Lean” – small things you can do to be more effective, sort of like personal “kaizen.”

Anyway, I liked this video about saving money, saving energy, and saving battery life on your smartphone (among other topics):

The episode:

Great tips include:

02:36  – Cut Your Energy Bill by a Third with Tech and Common Sense

07:43  – Save Money on Ink

The idea of the “ecoprint” font is especially intriguing – the same readability with less ink (by not printing as much ink in the middle of letters). Genius.

What tips will you embrace for a more effective 2012?  What other personal improvement ideas do you have to share?

Come back on Wednesday for a podcast with Dan Markovitz, author of the new book A Factory of One: Applying Lean Principles to Banish Waste and Improve Your Personal Performance, which is all about applying Lean concepts to your own individual professional work.


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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