Digits & Discipline in the Digital World
By: Andrew Neyer
Preparation is Prime
Our techniques leverage upon our preparation. The more we prepare, the more assertive we can be in our work. Eliminating Waste creates a fertile environment for labor to grow and thrive. Seeking clarity in the workplace frees up our minds, and enables our bodies to champion production.
One of the most important steps is understanding the steps. Larry Haun, a very efficient carpenter, humbly admits,
“Complicated projects are made up of simple steps. And what we’ve le’rned how to do, you can le’rn how to do.”
Familiarize yourself with what happens before your work begins, and what happens after your job is finished. The transitions are where Time likes to vacation. Honing your technique is good and valid, but most Wastes want to hide where no one cares to look. Finding these time gaps, and eliminating them is the focus of preparation. Decisions stop production, so make all decisions before you produce. In the video series that accompanies Haun’s book, The Very Efficient Carpenter, he shows how thorough planning of a building’s sill plates removes the need to consult the building plans continually. Framing walls one at a time appears effective because you instantly see a building starting to take shape, but the methodical approach Larry takes wins in the long run.
Next, watch as Robert O’Connell, a flooring installer, carefully pulls boards into staggered piles at a relaxed pace. While his hands grab boards one by one, his mind is cycling through his experience of which board pattern works best with his current inventory. His mind is making rapid judgment calls of the boards’ order while his hands steadily follow instructions. He queues all the boards and then enters into production as an absolute master of his craft.
Production in Practice
Your digits are incredibly dexterous and perfectly designed to build, sew, cut, dig, sign, and draw. Production leverages what our hands do best: work. Production is where discovery happens, and ideas materialize.
Production unveils problems and therefore creates opportunities to make improvements. This is why preparation is so beneficial to manufacturing and productivity because it actively identifies waste, and proposes solutions. The workplace is the greatest teacher. Theories are interesting to chat about and critique, but they must be put to the test in the workplace.
Work becomes incredibly satisfying when we love the work we do. Competition, fear, and fame are excellent motivators, but they cannot outrun love. There are plenty of reasons to enjoy the work we do, but understanding why we love to work is fundamental to being human. It is our opportunity to create, build, record, mold, and produce. Observe your process, and then take it even farther. Observe your new process, and then take it even farther. Keep the attitude of a student—research and study others who do excellent work. Take pride in the work you make, but do not be too proud to share your wisdom. Worker bees should be humble-bees.
– What skills are you honing?
– How can you better prepare for production?
– Could you pull off jeans with suspenders?
– Why do you love work?