Living Lean in 2017

If you had to take an inventory of everything you own, what would that look like? How does it make you feel?  Does it truly reflect your character and values?

One of my favorite quotes from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is “you become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed”. So simple, yet so profound. The same holds true for what you possess. Each piece represents an investment of time and labor, as well as ongoing time and cost in storing, protecting and maintaining.

In the early 1990’s Lean Management became popular in manufacturing and business management. The idea of reducing wasted resources – time, talent, inputs and costs – in order to zero in on what truly adds value to a product or service, offers many interesting lessons. Here are three for you to consider:

  1. Clarify your priorities – Make a short list of what matters most to you at this point in your life. Another way to think about it is to describe your perfect day. What activities would you be doing? Who would you be with? Where would you be?
  2. Identify your burdens and obstacles – Track how you are spending your time and resources. Take an inventory of what you have/do and label each with how valuable and necessary it is for you. Include activities where you volunteer, have a membership or make a contribution.
  3. Take Action – Start with the most obvious and easiest by donating, selling, gifting or recycling. If it does not add meaning or value to your life then let it go. Cancel memberships; take time off from groups that are not moving you forward. Be protective of your time, energy and talent.

Kick off 2017 with a Lean, Agile mindset. Be focused and intentional on doing what matters most to you.

Finding #FinancialWellness

If you are feeling like you’re barely treading water, this message is for you.

As you wrap up another day, crossing off items on your to-do list, how much progress have you really made? Think about each item on your list. Was the activity well thought out, delivered at the best time, with a clear purpose of moving to the next step of the plan?

Invariably we often find ourselves making calls, replying to emails and attending meetings without being fully prepared or present. Unfortunately this means that we are not being our best and we are not making the kind of impact we are capable of making. In a sense, we are cheating ourselves out of enjoying deep satisfaction in our work and short-changing ours peers and friends in experiencing our full potential.

This same behavior translates into the way we manage our finances. We do the activities required to stay on top of our obligations, checking off items on our to-do list. On the surface, things look decent, but we really don’t know how we’re doing or whether we’re making any progress at all.

Consider blocking off 30 minutes each week to schedule deep thinking time specifically focused on how you manage your finances. Start with one area of your management process. Break down this one area into the smallest increments possible. Write down each piece and identify aspects that could be merged, improved or even eliminated.

In your next session, start researching the aspects you’ve identified. Once you have two or three alternatives or improvements, prioritize them and create a plan of action to begin implementing your changes. The goal of this exercise is to establish intentional processes that will guide your activities and clarify the purpose of your actions.

I work closely with individuals and group to improve their financial wellness. You are invited to follow me on twitter @dmorrisandco . If you want more information, please add a comment.

Helping people find their #financialwellness one day at a time.