Many tasks occur between the time one wakes up in the morning to the time they arrive at work on a daily basis. Sometimes, these tasks become routine and more or less take the same amount of time every day; however, there are individual processes that may take longer than others and cause one to be late to work or throw a quark in the day which will delay the remainder of the tasks scheduled. It is my goal to identify these bottlenecks, or areas in which my delays typically occur, and eliminate the chance for this to delay my arrival to work and thus my schedule. Over the past five weeks, I have kept a log of the time it takes me to conduct the different activities I engage in before arriving to work.
The data points used in this log to determine my average time to get ready what is causing my set backs are the mean, median, range, and mode. The mean is the average time it takes me on a weekly basis. This is calculated by adding the daily totals and dividing by the five data points. The median is the number in a list of numbers ordered numerically that lands directly in the middle of the number set. The range is calculated by subtracting the lowest number in the set of five from the highest number. The range allows us to observe the variations in my weekly process. The mode is a statistical value that is a the number in the set that repeats one or more times(Taylor, p.1). Below is a two week log of my daily process from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to work. I have highlighted areas that seem to vary greatly and cause me the most setbacks.
Week One and Two
T W T F S T W T F S
Alarm Goes Off at 6:45 a.m. 16 24 8 16 24 8 8 8 16 8
Make and prepare coffee and eat a bowl of cereal 15 22 17 18 22 12 15 16 13 14
Shower 11 13 10 12 12 12 11 10 11 12
Hair and Make up 24 20 22 25 19 18 19 22 18 17
Find an outfit and get dressed 12 10 7 4 10 8 8 12 7 6
Final Touch Ups and getting ready to walk out door 4 6 4 9 5 3 4 4 5 3
Drive to work 23 20 30 21 18 19 20 20 24 20
Total Time it takes to get ready 105 115 98 105 110 80 85 92 94 80
Average time 106.6 86.2
Range 17 14
Mode 105 80
Median 105 85
Potential Bottlenecks Identified
As you can see, towards the end of week two I began getting better about pressing the snooze button; however, there are days when I have a very hard time getting out of bed at 6 a.m., thus you see the variation in wake up times. Next, my hair and makeup time varies as my process often requires me to spend extra or less time on my wild hair. Lastly, wardrobe malfunctions and adjustments seem to happen more often than they should and cause significant delays in my day. The worst culprit here seems to be the first step of my day which is rising to the alarm when it goes off.
There are a few possible solutions to many bottlenecks. Let??™s think of this process as we would a business process. In operations, there are procedures to eliminate or reduce bottlenecks. The main goal of operations management is to provide more value by managing the inputs and outputs. It is the coordination of these processes that leads to less cost and higher efficiency (n.d. OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT, p. 1). Similarly, my goal is to reduce my transition times from one task to another and reduce the bottlenecks in my processes, as a business would do. Below are weeks three through five and the progression due to the efforts that I have made are shown as we observe the reduction in the mean and the range. These areas are highlighted as well as the bottleneck areas that have caused me delays in the past.
Weeks Three, Four, and Five
Week Three Week Four Week Five
T W T F S T W T F S T W T F S
Alarm Goes Off at 6:45 a.m. 6 8 6 10 8 6 6 6 0 0 0 0 6 0 0
Make and prepare coffee and eat a bowl of cereal 12 15 16 13 14 13 13 12 12 10 10 11 11 12 10
Shower 10 13 10 11 12 10 10 11 10 9 8 8 10 8 9
Hair and Make up 18 14 15 16 17 13 14 10 15 12 9 10 9 9 10
Find an outfit and get dressed 6 6 12 7 6 8 6 8 10 5 6 7 6 7 8
Final Touch Ups 5 4 4 5 6 3 3 5 4 4 3 4 3 2 4
Drive to work 19 20 20 24 20 22 20 23 25 15 19 18 22 21 18
Total Time it takes to get ready 76 80 83 86 83 75 72 75 76 55 55 58 67 59 59
Average time 81.6 70.6 59.6
Range 10 20 12
Mode 83 83 83
Median 83 75 59
Since week one, it is obvious I have made significant progress in reducing the time it takes me to get ready on a daily basis and controlling variables that I can control. For example, I can control the pressing of the snooze button, finding an outfit in a timely manner and doing my hair and make up in a timely manner. These variables were my bottlenecks and were causing me the largest variances in time delays as well as the most time. By taking these variables and putting a plan in place to be more organized I have reduced my average time from 106 minutes to 59.6 minutes at the end of week five. I nearly cut my time in half by identifying bottlenecks and controlling variables.
There are a few conditions that will never change and may delay me in the future. These uncontrollable variables include traffic delays and poor weather conditions. Traffic delays can occur without notice and frequently occurs on the highway I travel to work on so no matter what time I leave my house, there will always be a chance that I may hit a delay due to morning traffic conditions. Secondly, living in the northeast has its pitfalls, most notably, the road conditions in the winter. Snow and ice cause for major delays on the roads and may cause delays in my arrival to work. These two variables cannot be controlled; however, I can try to leave the house earlier to provide a cushion in the case of traffic or icy road conditions.
My plan of controlling variables worked well and was observed throughout my five week process to reduce the amount of time I take to get ready for work on a daily basis. I first identified the bottlenecks in my daily process and then generated a plan to target each bottleneck that I have control over. I made a conscious effort to stop pressing the snooze button by moving my alarm clock across the room which in turn forced me to get up to turn it off. Secondly, I began choosing my work outfits the night before so I was not stuck in a time crunch looking for an outfit in the morning. And lastly, I started making a conscious effort to reduce the time I take to do my makeup and blow dry my hair. This has all worked out very well and is shown by my reduction in my range and mean.