No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Rule of the Full Garage

There's a simple truth that every home-owner knows: Garages fill up.

Not everyone understands the rule of the full garage, though: You don't solve the problem by adding onto your garage. More space will eventually fill up too.

The same problem exists in your work day. There's a huge time management industry out the trying to help us find more time in our days. But gaining capacity is like trying to fix your garage storage with more storage.

The real solution is in fixing the demand problem. Most garages just have too much stuff. The problem isn't limited storage, the problem is we don't have a good system for throwing old stuff away. Our bad process produces the bad outcome. Add more storage and the same bad process will just fill that up too.

Most of our days are cluttered with junk, too. There are too many things we do that time has passed by, that technology has made unnecessary, or that we can easily delegate. Fortunately, the three steps indicated by the rule of the full garage can help us with our time.

1. Keep what's useful, discard what isn't. Don't try to imagine what might be useful someday, because almost everything falls into that category. If you don't expect to use it soon, get rid of it.
2. Organize. A place for everything and everything in its place. In garages, that lets you find things, and keeps them from damage. In your schedule, that keeps things from being overlooked.
3. Maintain. Plan for periodic repeats of steps one and two.

The rule of the full garage offers a simple, easy-to-manage way to more effectively use your time. That has to make you a better leader.

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