To be a calm company we have to be able to deliver quality work in the time allotted for a certain job. Simple? That’s easier said than done. We get there by prioritizing the improvement of daily work over doing daily work.
What is the difference between daily work and the improvement of daily work?
You can distinguish between what you do and how you do it. What you produce is daily work. Improving the process of how you do your daily work is the improvement of daily work.
Why is it challenging to improve daily work?
Changing habits is very difficult
Most of the time, you focus on what you do. That's daily work. You probably think that's why your boss pays you your salary. Produce a lot of work daily, and you feel productive. Depending on the company culture, producing a lot of daily work can earn you praise and get you a raise or promotion. That culture leads to production at all costs, which can quickly lead to overtime, leading to burnout. But this focus on production will not improve anything about how you do your job. That's the improvement of daily work.
Five more reasons why it's challenging to do:
- First of all, we humans are creatures of habit. Changing habits is very difficult. How you do your daily work is also a habit.
- It takes time to improve. Time spent on improving can't be spent on producing your daily work. The improvement only pays off in the long run.
- Suppose you have a deadline or an extensive to-do list. Those deadlines and to-do lists can cause stress, which will make you less open to change.
- You might not feel empowered to make changes to your process.
- The root cause of an issue that needs improving is not part of your process, and you think you can't change the operation of another team or department.
Why I think you should prioritize improving daily work
There are good reasons to make this shift from doing daily work to prioritizing the improvement of daily work:
- After a couple of improvements, you will get more done within the same time. In the end, you will produce more with the same effort. To get there, you might miss a deadline or two, but it's worthwhile.
- If you start improving, you will gain time, which can be spent on even more improvements, compounding the progress over time. Which will lead to being super productive without stress and overtime.
- The world is not static. Everything changes all the time. Learning how to change effortlessly will make you future-proof.
- It makes your work more satisfying and less stressful.
How to do it? You have to change your view of work
The only thing you have to change is how you view your work. Look at your work from a process perspective. The most important thing you have to do each day is improve how you work. It's as simple as that.
Using the Improvement Kata framework will help you guide your efforts in improving your daily work.
Look at your work from a process perspective.
Only improving how you work won't cut it, though. It’s best when you have enough daily work flowing through your processes to show you where to improve. We wrote another blog about how we handle improvement at Easy LMS.
What about Easy LMS?
We're still learning how to apply the Improvement Kata daily to each process we have. It's a challenge. But, while we're learning, we improve all our operations. We build a safe environment for everybody to work in and feel productive. Keep calm and be proud!