Are you wasting your time?

I suppose we’re all guilty of it, right? From time to time, there’s so much to do – and for one reason or another – we just don’t.

Like the soldiers that we mourn on Memorial Day and others who are gone from our lives – we wish we had more time. One more day, one more hour, one more moment. But in our humanity, we still would never fully appreciate it.

It’s like looking at a picture and knowing that our eyes saw so much more beauty and depth.

And what if we knew it would be the last time? Would it make it more special? Or would it make it sad and we would lose that last moment of happiness?

In a similar way, think of this: One day you will take your child to the park – and it will be the last time. One day, it will be the last time you pick her up. One day it will be the last time you drive him to a sports game. One day, everything will change. And you might not even know it until much later.

And that’s it. That’s why time is so important! That’s why I don’t want to waste any more of it – and I don’t want you to waste any more either!

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth began the field of study now known as industrial and organizational psychology. They began by taking home movies of their children doing everyday tasks. They then studied these tasks and considered how the task could be done more efficiently. They then took those results and applied them to the working population – specifically in factories. Frank concentrated on the physical motions, but Lillian also focused on the psychology of the motions. They called their created method the Gilbreth System. They even had a slogan: “The One Best Way to Do Work,” 

So the bad news (maybe) is that they were usually right: there actually is a best way to do most things.
The good news is that we can still glean tips and tricks from the Gilbreths even if we don’t work in factories!

The Gilbreths discovered some mundane things along the way – like buttoning your shirt from the bottom to the top is faster than the top to bottom. I know you’re not concerned with this – after all, a hundred years later, most of us don’t even wear button-down shirts any more.

But what about how you’re doing things like typing and entering data into your computer? When you have to copy, are you taking time to click and drag your mouse over the data, instead of doing a quick triple-click? Are you right clicking and then choosing copy and then right clicking again to choose paste? Did you know you can click Ctrl C to copy and Ctrl V to paste? Did you know that Ctrl B can make text bold? And Ctrl X can cut your text to delete it and paste it in another place?

Sure, there are keyboard shortcuts, but how much time does that really save? Well, according to

If you work on a computer 8 hours a day, Monday-Friday,
keyboard shortcuts could save you 8 entire workdays every year!

Interested in learning more? Check out the full article here.

If you’re interested in learning more about Frank and Lillian Gilbreth’s research and studies on motion – as well as Lillian’s assertation that psychology played a part in how efficient the worker was – I encourage you to search the internet.

If you search, there are tons of materials beyond the entertaining books by Frank Jr. and Ernestine. They will surely give you a taste of this extraordinary family!

I don’t usually encourage Wikipedia, but in this case – Dr. Lillian Moller Gilbreth is simply too remarkable and there is so much to read, that I can encourage it as a starting point! 

*Image used with permission

Discussion Questions: 
  1. Have you ever heard the original story of Cheaper by the Dozen?
  2. What are you doing that wastes time?
  3. Do you think changing the way you’ve “always done” things is worth it in the end?


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