Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Busy B's

We are still assuming shop order is your goal, but the situation is such that the item in question can't   go home.  In this case, your best option is to Get it closer.

Perhaps you are involved in a task and can't or don't want to or can't take the time to put something back right now.  No problem:  Just aim it toward home.  Even two steps closer will eventually get it there.  On a slightly bigger scale, a shop can be lain out so that all work stations aim toward the homes of components used in those stations.  Put a different way, it is easier to keep a shop orderly if the work stations have easily accessible "drop zones" that can be accessed from the larger shop.   The ambulatories in early churches allowed pilgrims to examine artifacts in the church's collection without disrupting mass.  Similarly, a layout that allows you to remove clutter with out upsetting the set-up or process of a machine may help the flow of work in the shop.

At this level, this leads to some simple rules:  1. Never drop items in a lane 2. Never bury items under others.  3. Never create a second drop zone for items that can be consolidated.  and my personal favorite:  The 2 Minute Rule.*

When we apply the technique of pulling back focus, we can see that this idea is really still a form of upgrading.  We are open to the same forces: but are faced with circumstances that do not allow for full expression of the optimal.  This is more of a "patch".

An example of this concept used in design would be the placement of a table in a room.  Perhaps you want a round table in a certain space, but all you have is a milk crate.  It is acceptable to use the crate, thus getting you closer to the intent.  a grouping of round objects on the crate will further upgrade the piece, and being open to further upgrades will likely lead to the intended result.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with etc...and in many cases it is difficult or impossible to begin with a fully optimized program.  The real benefit of applying these techniques is that it becomes unimportant to have a fully formed mental image of an intended outcome.  In fact, this obsession with "instant perfection, first time every time" becomes a crippling force for many, leading to artistic blocks and other stresses felt throughout.  Caught between the illusion of perfection and the reality of action, many simply choose to do nothing, others try to tackle the whole head-on and inevitably burn out.   Merely keeping the intended goal in mind while trusting the system is often enough. After all, it's the journey that counts, not the destination.

* The two minute rule, in it's simplest form is this:  If a task will take two minutes or less, just do it.  It is surprising how many tasks in the small shop actually do take 2 mins. or less!  The resulting order will astound.  If a task will take from 2-5 mins. then do it or not according to circumstance.  Tasks taking 5 or more mins. are ok to procrastinate on, so long as the long view includes Stacking them up.  

Apprentice tip:  When you find yourself in over your head, unsure of how to proceed:  Find one thing wrong and fix it.  Once that one thing is fixed, find another and so on.  Is a line crooked that should be straight?  Is a bend too tight or too loose?  Is there one section too fat or too thin?
Don't try and tackle the whole piece: divide and conquer.

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