It Works: Stories From The Book

No job too low

One of my friends, Mahoba, told me that she waited for the third two hours to get a big pile of scanning and shredding contracts done. Before she instituted this habit, the pile just kept getting bigger and bigger because (a) it was a low-priority job that no-one wanted to do and (b) no-one really saw it as their job. The bigger issue was that from time to time someone needed to reference a document that was in the pile and it was almost impossible to locate a specific contract without going through each document, one after the other.

Mahoba saw it as an opportunity to keep being productive at a time when she sometimes would glaze over and waste the hour after lunch. It was a repetitive job that required very little cognitive effort, and it was physical, involving standing up and moving around between the scanner and the shredder. She scheduled an hour of scanning and shredding after lunch every day and enjoyed all the benefits that came with it. She found it meditative and restful (like napping on her feet) and yet the physical nature of the work had her feeling alert after the hour and ready to take on tasks that require more intensity in the afternoon. My favourite part about Mahoba’s story is that what seemed like a little job, that could have been considered well below her pay rate, contributed to the whole team’s productivity. She later told me that after about a week of doing this a couple of people joined her in the afternoons and it became an after-lunch ‘ritual’ where they would scan, shred and chat for about 30 minutes.

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