What It Takes To Have Routines That Work

Adriana Girdler

What every person needs to know about routines Since the times of Henry Ford (and even earlier), the focus on studying and standardizing work processes …

What every person needs to know about routines

Routines that workSince the times of Henry Ford (and even earlier), the focus on studying and standardizing work processes has been central to efficiency and productivity in the manufacturing world. When you stop to examine how you do things, you can spot simple ways to make the process more efficient.

This applies to every area of life. For instance, when you’re trying to get out of the house in the morning, it makes sense to start the coffeemaker as soon as possible. As the water drips through, you can take care of other things, and you won’t be waiting for the coffee when it’s time to head out the door.

When you’ve identified an efficient routine, you must pass it along to everyone who is part of the process. Standardized checklists are a great tool, whether the task at hand is cleaning and closing up a restaurant for the evening, or wrangling children out the door to catch the school bus. For the workplace, this type of document is likely to be in text form (although it might exist as a posting on a bulletin board, a page in an employee orientation handbook, or an interactive electronic document in the cloud). For families, a checklist might be a simple picture chart or a set of magnets on the door of the fridge. Check out this free PDF picture checklist to get kids out the door and off to school.

Download our ‘Kids Out The Door’ PDF Checklist

Event preparation is made much easier when you create checklists and even pre-packed, reusable kits. For instance, I suggest that meeting facilitators should prepare a toolbox that holds physical items, like flip charts, markers, tape, sticky notes and large index cards, as well as a memory stick with any essential templates or files. A similar kit could be assembled for use at trade show booths or conference presentations.

On the home front, it’s useful to have a travel kit ready to go at all times, with travel-sized duplicates of all the cosmetics or shaving supplies you normally use, in a handy little soft-sided pouch. You can take it a step further by creating packing checklists for each member of the family, which cover everything from basic clothes to bathing suits or ski equipment, medicines, reading material and those essential favourite toys.

Tailored checklists can be helpful for weekly activities, like the dance class or hockey practice. Again, if you have a list posted in an accessible spot, a child can help to get his or her own backpack ready the night before.

This post is taken from my book, Take Back Your Day! To read more from the book, visit our Product Page.


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Adriana Girdler is a project manager, productivity specialist, entrepreneur, professional speaker, facilitator, visioning wizard, and author. As President of CornerStone Dynamics, Adriana is one of Canada’s prominent business productivity and project management specialists—helping both individuals and businesses do what they do, only better. She is a certified master black belt lean six sigma with over 20 years’ experience improving how companies work.

She also holds both PMP (project management professional) and CET (certified engineering technologist) designations. She’s a Tedx speaker, as well as a HuffPost and Thrive Global contributor. She has been interviewed on Global, CBC, CTV, CHCH, 680News Radio, Newstalk 1010, Sirius XM and published in the Globe and Mail and numerous industry magazines. WANT ADRIANA'S FREE ONLINE TRAINING? In 45 min, learn Adriana's 5 project management secrets she use on EVERY project. Sign up for the Free Webinar here: THE FAB FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

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