Saturday, May 07, 2016

Non Value Added Activity

“Simplifying our lives does not mean sinking into idleness, but on the contrary, (it means) getting rid of the most subtle aspect of laziness, the one that makes us take on thousands of less important activities.”
-Matthieu Ricard
There is lots of corporate jargon and most of it makes me crazy.  Why do we come up with all this superfluous language when speaking plainly would be more to the point and much easier to understand?  There has been one corporate bit of lingo that I did like and it was the term “Non Value Added Activity”.  Abraham Maslow, the noted psychologist credited with the creator of the “Hierarchy of Needs”, once said that 80% of all work is BS.  This 80% is basically non value added activity.  How many of you perform meaningless or redundant tasks in your daily work?  I am sure it is more than a few.  We should always be looking for ways to eliminate such wastes of time so that we can be truly productive by performing value added activities.  Of course, this doesn’t apply just to the work place.  We should be doing this in all parts of our lives.  My wife and I have argued our entire marriage about the proper way to load a dishwasher.  She just throws stuff in there with no sense of order.  I think there is an order to the universe and a proper way to load a dishwasher.  Many times I have completely re-loaded the dishwasher after my wife has done it her way.  It really makes little difference.  The dishes will get clean either way.  My perfectionistic personality, mixed with a little anal retention, creates the non-value added activity of sometimes loading the dishwasher twice when once will do fine.  In the workplace we will take information from one report and move it to another report.  Why?  What’s wrong with the original report?  Our lives can get frittered away by doing all kinds of “Non Value Added Activity”.  Every time we do something we should ask, “Is this really necessary?  Does it really matter or have a purpose?  If I died, would someone else keep it going or even notice that it stopped?”      

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