Improved organization with multi-colored sailboats

Good morning,

As I mentioned last week, I am no longer engaged in full time work as I am now doing part time consulting, overseeing my disabled son’s programs, maintaining a household, and keeping my mind, body, and spirit fit. As I have been adapting to this shift in lifestyle, I really didn’t have plan to manage it all beyond typical task lists.

As we know, task lists don’t necessarily translate to “plans” so I really wasn’t planning much and lo and behold, the days started slipping by. I was getting things done but it felt disorganized for my purposes and several elements, such as my spiritual condition, were being undernourished.

I decided I needed something different than what I am accustomed to so I dug into journal planner kind of thing to see what folks are doing and what I am not.

One thing I discovered, which I’d heard nothing about, is this massive trend of bullet journaling. After watching a few online tutorials, I noted that, for me, it involved way too much fluff, redundancy, and creativity, none of which I am down with for a journal planner. The whole thing reminds me of the scrapbooking trend.

During my sifting through the bullet journal tutorials I stumbled onto a minimalist approach to a journal planner. The guy I watched was a busy entrepreneur and his practice really struck a chord with me so I adopted many of his elements.

My journal planner now incorporates a daily and weekly tracking with sections that includes cheat sheets (lean/six sigma/project management, etc.), personal finance, goal setting, business ideas, and projects.

Note: My past practice has been to include client notes into my daily planner and journal but along with implementing my new journal planner, I set up and use MS OneNote for client notes. This method has instantly enhanced the quality and availability of information since I no longer have to dig through pages of black ink notes to find a short note.

Much of the bullet journal approach uses periodic templates, which I painfully watched being drawn and redrawn in the tutorials. I watched one woman redraw a single month’s calendar 3 times on 3 different pages. Not being one to waste time with redundancy, I designed my daily and weekly template, a scorecard of sorts, in an address label format then printed and placed them on my daily pages.

Granted, this makes the journal planner a bit thicker but for a 3-month range, it is not bad. You can see an example of a daily page below.

JP Template

And then keeping with the spirit, I picked up a few colored gel pens to make it a bit more of a fun visual experience because I did like that element. Almost all of my planners have been written in black ink for many years.

This leaves me plenty of space for tasks, notes, and other tidbits worth noting journal-style.

I am now one week into this and it’s feels pretty good. I can see where I miss my targets and what I can improve on.

And I did get super creative and drew a sailboat, in multi-colored ink mind you, on last Saturday’s page because it was boat day.

Thanks for stopping by.

Off the road again…

It’s been a while since my last writing.  A lot has happened since.

I am off the road, finally, and hopefully, for good.  It’s been quite a while since I have not been traveling for work other than a 1-year respite at job in Milwaukee.  The majority of the last 12 years I have been spent working out of state.  And now I’m home.

It’s nice.

I like it.

A lot.

The family enjoys me being around as well.  In fact, we have switched roles a bit with my better half moving to full time, me moving to part time local client work and being the primary contact for our son.  Yes, that means I am driving Dad’s Taxi, making dinner, cleaning the house, and spending a lot more of my time getting things done, something that is very difficult to do when spending 12 hours a week flying, driving, and waiting.

And we bought a boat.  Yep, a beautiful vintage 27’ sailboat that we sail on Lake Winnebago, which has plenty of room to play.  I was even able to get to an Iron Maiden concert a few weeks back and looking forward to seeing Elton John in Milwaukee in a month.


Did I mention I like being off the road?

And I landed a couple local clients.  I am working with a local fabricator and manufacturer of industrial equipment on continuous improvement and soon will be adding program and project management.  I am also working with a local financial services firm who is representing a local contractor in the sale of that business.  It’s good work and I appreciate being home every night and in fact, being able to work from home.

I do have some topics for some future blogs so I will be back next week.

Thanks for stopping by.

Standard work? Nah, I got this.

I’ve worked with numerous client and companies on turnarounds or improvement projects in small and medium-sized shops.  The technology is often tried and true, usually considered old school, if you will.  The processes contain nuances and require finesse at times but generally speaking, if they were to apply some standard work, based on the fundamental principles of the technology, the companies I’ve worked with would be a lot closer than they are.

Standard work is a Lean Manufacturing term that, according to is defined as follows:

Detailed definition of the most efficient method to produce a product (or perform a service) at a balanced flow to achieve a desired output rate. It breaks down the work into elements, which are sequenced, organized and repeatedly followed.

You know those perfect cookies that your mom or grandmother made?  They were no doubt created using the same ingredients, the same process, the same oven and temperature, and the same nuances nearly every time and the results were almost always predictable.  Yummy good cookies, right?

If you tried to make the same cookies in your own kitchen, the results might be different based on the variables in your process.  An extra minute in the oven, a different brand of butter or vanilla, a different cookie sheet, or anything that can create a shift in the standard process.

When a process is so out of control that no two jobs are alike, settings for process temperature, humidity, and timing are ignored, materials storage conditions are highly variable, and employees do it their own way, what can we do?

We create standard work.  Identify the correct environmental conditions, equipment settings, and material storage and handling requirements and stabilize all processes.

We then create standard work procedures that clearly define everything that allows us to replicated the process then teach and instruct every employee to follow them.  Teach the why it matters.  These procedures become the new standard and the only time they change is when the processes undergo controlled changes based on improvement.

I want to include an example of standard work as it applies to me.  Something simple, yet something I feel is important to my brand.  My logo contains 7 different colors, none of which pop up in MS Office programs when I am trying to match.  I contacted my logo designer who provided me with the RGB color numbers used which allows me to match any of the 7 colors used in my logo.  Simple, right?  The chart below is always nearby to enable me to quickly select and match my colors.


I can NEVER make a mistake matching my colors now.

Thanks for stopping by.  Take care of yourselves in the cold.