039: 8 Wastes – Waste of Excess Motion

039: 8 Wastes – Waste of Excess Motion

So, there is something that drives me crazy. I’ll admit it.

It’s when I’m doing something in the kitchen and I find myself getting back to the counter from the fridge only to realize that I forgot to grab something when I was there.

So I go back to the fridge, get the thing, and then get back to the counter and shake my head because I also forgot that other thing from the pantry right next to the fridge.

So, it’s back to the pantry, back to the counter, back to the fridge… on and on.

I think it’s the inefficiency that kills me. The thought that I just wasted that time and movement when I could have cut out some steps.

And the same thing happens every day in businesses across the world.

Today, we’re going to look at the Waste of Excess Motion.

In episode 13, we introduced the concept of the 8 Wastes, a Lean Manufacturing idea that splits up the different kinds of wastes in our organizations into eight specific areas.

The waste of motion is a biggie because when your processes are causing your people to move more than they need to to accomplish a task, not only is it taking extra time but it’s also sometimes taking up more floor space and adding excess movement as well.

Each of those ultimately take small bites out of your productivity that add up over time and attack your bottom line.

So, what are some ways you can start to reduce this waste of motion?

Before I answer, let me say that there are both physical applications to this as well as electronic.

Let’s start with the physical.

Take a look at a physical workspace or process in your business. Think about anywhere where people have to move in some way to accomplish a task.

Maybe you have people manually assembling parts. Look at the layout of their work center and see if there is a way you could rearrange their machines or their stations to cut down on their motion. Could you move things closer or change the order of operations to help them be able to batch more of their movements?

Or maybe there are processes in your organization that require you or someone else to walk farther than is needed. Could you rearrange office layouts or change procedures to eliminate the need to deliver papers around? Could a call or slack message take the place of an in-person visit? What if your team member could take better pictures or visually communicate an issue to save a meeting or visit?

Now think about your own physical office and desk. Could you rearrange files or items on your desk to reduce your motion? Could you move those post-its or pens, your files or reference sheets?

And finally (and we may certainly revisit this one later), what about your computer. Your desktop, file system, email folders and emails? We may only be talking about your mouse moving and clicking and not so much physical movement, but there could honestly be more wasted here than anywhere. Hunting for files or emails. Excess clicks or moves because structure could be improved. More automation and intuitive files like… you know… your Excel files (shawnwashburn.com/excel).

If you don’t do anything else today related to all of this, at least try to put on your “wasted motion” glasses and let yourself see everyday activities in this new light.

Then make it a goal to try to attack just one area this week. Then one next week. Etc. And you’ll start to see that you’ll gain momentum and see some really improvements in your productivity and efficiency.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. You can shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com.

I’d love to connect: website / LinkedIn / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

038: Kent Sanders – 3 Killer Email Tips

038: Kent Sanders – 3 Killer Email Tips

On today’s episode, I’m excited to introduce the first of many guest answers.

Today’s guest is my good friend Kent Sanders. Kent is a ghostwriter and host of the Daily Writer podcast. He is a gifted writer and his podcast is a great source of daily encouragement, inspiration and wisdom for anyone who wants to grow in their writing. Kent’s also just a great guy as well.

Today’s topic is email. Email, though it can be a powerful communication tool, can also be a struggle sometimes and make itself a bigger hassle than it’s worth. I asked Kent for some tips that can help business leaders be more effective in their email writing. Here’s what he said:


I really appreciated Kent’s tips and they already gave me some things to think about as I thought back on some of the emails I sent out this past week… and cringed a little bit :).

I encourage you to check out Kent’s podcast, The Daily Writer, on your favorite podcast player. I like it because it’s just a few minutes each day but he always has something new and thought provoking to share. And if you’d like a good community to help you go deeper with your writing, check out his Daily Writer Community out at dailywriterlife.com

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. You can shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com.

I’d love to connect: website / LinkedIn / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

037: Toddlers… The Workforce Solution You Didn’t Know You Needed

037: Toddlers… The Workforce Solution You Didn’t Know You Needed

Today, we’re going to have a little fun and this episode is going to be a little bit longer than normal. Today, we’re going to talk about the workforce solution you didn’t know you needed.

Right now, as you hear this very sentence, there is a business office that is struggling. Maybe it’s yours.
You’re struggling to find the right team member. You’re looking for someone with confidence, curiosity and determination who can come in and transform the way you do business.
Meanwhile, across the country (or maybe just around the corner), there is a young mom of a toddler that is also struggling.
She is struggling with the tiny human that has come in and turned her life upside down… both with his cuteness that melts her heart and with his insatiable appetite for destruction that melts her energy and hope.


It’s not hard to look at these two situations and see that there is a perfect solution for both parties staring us, defiantly and with a little jam smeared on his cheek, right in our face.
What if?
What if that toddler is exactly the kind of worker that your office needs?
And what if the toddler being out of the house is exactly what that young mom needs right now?
I’d like to propose 3 reasons why the toddler would be a great fit for any office… and 1 reason why they wouldn’t


The very thing that drives every parent of a young one crazy is the exact same skill set that is missing in so many workplaces.
They’re willing to ask “Why?”
It’s the power of asking questions that is so often missing in our current workforce.
Good questions are preferred, but in this day and age, any questions will be accepted.
We live in a world where fewer and fewer people know how to dig deeper, to do a little investigative work or to solve a problem or come up with something new.
Often, when encountering a roadblock or just a tedious task, typical employees just rely on their own personal Google (read “supervisor”) to solve everything for them.
Rather than ask “why didn’t that work?” or “why do we do things this way?” or “what would happen if…?”, they just plod through and try to get things done, inefficiently or not at all.
But that toddler… oh man… what that little boy could do for that office.
From day, one he’d stagger in there, look around and start firing off “Whys” like bullets from his pint-sized six-shooter.
“Billy, you need to fill out a PRN before you can do the TFSP, but you need to use that computer there…”  “Why?”
“Billy, that’s just the way we’ve always done it…”  “Why?”
“Billy, you can’t just eat the sugar right out of the packets…”  “Why?”
A toddler would be that disruptive force that would bring about real change by questioning the status quo and allowing people to re-imagine what their work could be like.
He would be awesome.


If asking “Why” is a toddler’s peanut butter, then loudly proclaiming “No” is their jelly.
Like a 25 pound prize fighter, “No” is like their upper cut to their question-asking jabs. “Why, why, why….NO!”
One skill that can be hard to master for most people in the workplace is this very ability to say “no”.
We all want to be helpful, to go the extra mile, to do our part.
But along the way we add on extra tasks to an already full plate, thinking that we can do it all.
Or we agree to a deadline that we know we can’t meet to try to make someone happy or to look good in their eyes.
But too often all of this leads to the opposite. Deadlines get missed, workers get stressed, the workload falls off the overloaded plate and onto the floor.
And that’s where the toddler comes in.
First, they will eat that workload straight off the dirty floor because that’s what they do.
But then, they will begin to do one of the things that they do best. Say “No”.
They’ve been practicing this skill since they could first speak the word….
“Billy, let’s get your shoes on…”   “No!”
“Billy, stop throwing spaghetti on the wall…”   “No!”
“Billy, it’s time to go to bed…”   “No!”
Drop Billy into that office and he’d have no problem working efficiently and staying focused and on-time.
“Billy, I know you’re trying to finish the Miller project, but can you give me a hand with this?…”    “No!”
“Billy, I need you to come to this two hour meeting where we’re going to plan out what we’re going to discuss in our four hour meeting next week…”   “No!”
“Billy, we just had to order another case of glue because you ate the last one. We need you to stop…”   “No!”
Billy would be the “Noer” that you’ve needed in your organization, to
Billy would rock that.


Often our greatest breakthroughs come right after we’re about to give up… but don’t.
Unfortunately, many workplaces like yours can struggle to build that into the culture. To not give up when things get tough.
That’s when the best ideas often come — when we’ve exhausted the “logical” solutions or feel like there just isn’t a solution at all.
That’s when innovation dips into our decisions, our conversations, our meetings and when change truly happens.
When that persistence is missing, things just stay the same, productivity slowly takes a nose dive and companies aren’t as able to offer their best to their customers.
But where can you get someone with that kind of “not-back-down” attitude?
Enter our little friend the toddler.
Toddlers have a will like no other and will keep banging against that wall until it comes down or they get what they want.
They’ve never met a roadblock that they didn’t think they could get past.
Drop them into your office and sick them on your toughest project and they will push and strain and plug away until it gets done.
Barriers, rejection and resistance just seem to melt in the wake of the determined toddler.
They will get their way. And if you can get them on board with your company’s mission, they will wear down anything that opposes them.
Just ask anyone in your office who has ever had a toddler taking up residence in their house, or holding a standoff in the busiest part of the mall… or at bedtime.
Yep, toddlers have exactly the type of “don’t give up” attitude that is needed today to keep your team and initiatives moving in the right direction.
Okay, so, even though toddlers bring with them these three awesome strengths, there is still one big drawback:


I’m not exactly sure how to put this, but toddlers like destruction.
Imagine a tornado meeting an earthquake and having a baby. A literal baby.
Unleash that offspring into your office and within minutes every drawer will be ransacked, every door opened, office supplies everywhere, plugs unplugged coffee spilled, and more….
That new little teammate will jump from one crime scene to the next, giggling all the way.
Oh, your vendor brought in donuts? Oh, I think you meant sugar-coated, smashed up floor pucks.
New box of paper clips? Wonder how many can he stick into your USB ports at once.
New cartridge of ink toner? I won’t even describe what’s about to happen there.
You get the picture.
If you can survive the mass destruction and weather that storm, the upsides will far outweigh the mess. I think.
Well, there are still some barriers to all this. Child labor laws, ADA for toddlers in the workplace, purchasing all shatterproof equipment.
But, boy, once those are in place, just find your nearest frazzled toddler parent and you’ve got your next great employee ready to come in and make things happen.
Just make sure you get stocked up on the Cheerios first.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. I’d love to hear from you. You can shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com.

I’d love to connect: website / LinkedIn / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

036: Work Can Be Fun… It’s OK

036: Work Can Be Fun… It’s OK

Today’s episode is a public service announcement that it’s OK to make work and your workplace fun.

I’m hereby giving you permission to have fun in your emails or your meetings. To add some laughter to your powerpoints and charts. To liven things up even while staying focused on the tasks at hand.

Because, honestly, I believe you’ll get more done and have more motivated people in the long run.

Now, personally, this is a big one for me. I usually have to try to reign myself in because I often have something humorous to add in a meeting that half of the time just might not be appropriate or necessary.

But it’s OK to add in that humor, to make light of what can be stressful things at work.

No one is meant to just carry a load and trudge through the hours each day and be super serious about everything.

So, have some fun with your team and your organization. Be the spice that brings some flavor to the daily work grind.

It’s OK.

Tell a joke. Play a prank. Make a funny video. Write an ode. Leave a humorous note for your coworker who often forgets their tea mug in the microwave, written by their mug, saying that you knew they would come back for you. You know, just some random suggestions here.

Whatever it is for you, bring some new life to your work and let others know it’s OK to have fun. Work can be fun… if you make it.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. You can shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com.

I’d love to connect: website / LinkedIn / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

035: 5 Love Languages – Gifts

035: 5 Love Languages – Gifts

Back in episode 12 we introduced the 5 Love Languages, a foundational concept from Dr. Gary Chapman that helps us see how we and other give and receive love best.

It’s such a valuable tool, especially for business leaders, because it can allow you to really pour into your team members in ways that matter most to them.

In episode 19 we dove into Words of Affirmation, one of the easiest to employ and personally, one of my top two.

Today, we’re going to look at the love language of Gifts. This is about giving and receiving gifts.

As we mentioned in the overview, all of the love languages tend to resonate with us on some level, but some seem to fill our tank more than others.

The same is true with gifts.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love to receive a gift (although, what the gift is and the meaning behind it can certainly come into play here).

But when it comes to people in your organization who would rate this at the top of their list, giving them a gift of some kind will matter even more than a word you could say to them or any of the other love languages.

Of course, if selecting a good gift or just giving gifts in general isn’t one of your strong suits, this could be a little tougher for you.

But it’s worth the effort to not only to identify who on your team Gifts ranks high with but also to learn better what kinds of gifts really resonate with them.

It could be an Amazon gift card to show appreciation for the work they’ve done. Or maybe something engraved or personalized. Or food. Or something else. Get creative.

And don’t think you have to nail it. If you’re willing to put some time into it, a gift doesn’t need to be expensive or super rare.

But people, especially those who are high Gift people, won’t soon forget that token of gratitude. It may not seem like much to you, but will mean the world to them.

So, why not take some extra time this week to think more about how you could show appreciation through gifts. Ask around or search online for ideas. Get creative. Put some heart into it. You won’t regret it.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. You can shoot me an email at shawn@shawnwashburn.com.

I’d love to connect: website / LinkedIn / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter