Thursday, 14 May 2020 16:16

Prepare, Take Aim, Execute

Written by Jeff Davidson

I worked for Smyth Manufacturing Company, the summer before entering college. They made book binding equipment. It was my only time in a job shop and I learned many lasting lessons such as the importance of cleanliness in an industrial setting.

Before you left for the evening, you oiled your machine, wiped the floor and counters, and cleared away scraps and extraneous items so you were ready to begin the next day without impediments. The craftsmen often elaborately cleaned and reorganized items in the middle of the day as well, as they switched from one job to another When you're working with potentially dangerous industrial equipment, you can't afford to have a stray bolt or paper clip lying around that could catch in a gear and fly across the factory floor into someone's face.

As deftly as these job shop professionals worked, they continually maintained control of their immediate environment because they understood its importance on many levels. In case you think they were being overly cautious or were paid some admirable hourly wage, guess again. These workers were paid by the piece, and they were known as "piece workers." Any one of them could have easily increased their output on a given day by slacking off on cleaning and maintenance procedures.

After all, if you can turn out seven pieces in a day without spending 30 percent of your time cleaning and maintaining, you might be able to produce more than 10 pieces if you completely concentrate on your output. In the short-term, you could make more money. Longer term, you could injure yourself or others, create more waste, shorten the equipment's life, or get fired. The lesson for us all: “pay as you go,” clear the decks each night, arrive ready for the next days, and pace yourself for the long haul.


Jeff Davidson is “The Work-Life Balance Expert®” as designated by the USPTO and a premier thought leader on work-life balance, harmony, and integration issues. Jeff speaks to organizations worldwide that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the work-life balance of their people. He wrote Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Perfect Timing, and Everyday Project Management. Visit or call 919-932-1996 for more information

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