There are many marvelous lessons in life that we can learn and benefit from. This article is about two that are very closely related: accuracy and planning. Doing things the right way, at the right time, with proper planning will give you much greater accuracy.
One of my summer jobs during college was working for a home builder that had an excellent reputation for quality work. During my first week on the job, he gave these instructions: “We are building two houses and I want your opinion on the carpenters. Please spend about twenty minutes watching each of them work.”
The carpenter at the first house was an older gentleman and it looked like he moved slower than molasses. Watching him work was boring. He was just measuring and measuring, again and again. Eventually, he would cut his lumber and, it seemed to me very slowly, frame up his house. His slowness did not make a favorable impression.
Shortly after arriving at the second house, I noticed there was quite a difference in the way these two carpenters worked. This second one was a younger man, not much older than I was. He was moving quickly, running all over that house, cutting and sawing, hammering, and nailing. I was quite impressed with how fast he was moving.
When I returned to my boss, he asked what I learned from observing the two men. I told him how much more work the younger man had done. He listened carefully. Much to my surprise, asked me to go back and watch both of these men work for twenty more minutes.
However, this time his directions were slightly different. He wanted me to make note of where things were upon my arrival. Then, after watching carefully, he wanted me to measure how much progress each carpenter had made at the end of the allotted time.
He was very clear: ‘Make sure you watch each one of them for the same amount of time. I want you to tell me not only about how fast they move, I also want you to tell me about how much work they complete.’
An amazing thing happened when I focused on their accomplishments!
When the younger, faster man would grab a two by four, he would quickly measure, cut and nail it in place. He would repeat that process several times. Eventually, he would step back to check his work.
Many times he would have to go back and fix something. That meant he would have to remove, re-measure and re-cut a board before putting it back up. I realized that his work was disorderly and had been patched up.
I began to doubt my original opinion a little bit. Sure enough, when I watched the older, slower man, I discovered what he was doing actually was the correct way to work: ‘measure twice, and cut once.’ That’s exactly what he was doing!
Even though it appeared that he was moving slower than the younger carpenter, he did not a waste single minute, motion or piece of lumber. He checked his measurements and his work frequently. At the end of the twenty minutes, he had made much more progress than the younger, faster man. Plus, his work was neat, orderly and accurate.
While the example above is about physical action, the same principle is just as true when you are planning something as it is for taking physical action. A good example of that happened some time ago while I was visiting a friend.
His teenage daughter came rushing in. She was going out to a sports event where she was on the team. She was in a big hurry. When my friend reminded her to check and make sure she had everything she needed, she replied she didn’t have time and went running out of their house.
About an hour later, she was back.
She had indeed forgotten something. So, in trying to rush and save a minute, she had actually cost herself an hour. She drove thirty minutes out to her game only to discover she did not have everything she needed. That meant she had to drive an additional half hour back to her home to pick up an item that took her less than a minute to find.
Her father had advised her to slow down, check her plans and make sure she had everything she needed before she left. She decided that she did not have an extra minute to pause and double-check. This lack of planning and checking cost her sixty minutes of extra driving and considerable stress.
Here’s that ‘measure twice and cut once’ lesson again, this time in the form of plan your work and work your plan. When you take time to line things up mentally, line up your reasons, steps and processes, your task becomes easier.
When you stop and check for accuracy BEFORE taking action, you can often save a lot of time, frustration, energy and money. This simple process of ‘plan, measure and check’ will give you better results, with greater accuracy!
Each time you focus on being very clear about what you want AND pause to plan and check the specific action steps you need to take, you will reach success much easier and faster.
To sum it up, here are some ‘Measure Twice, Cut Once’ ideas for you to consider:
- Planning is essential for your success.
- First appearances sometimes are deceiving.
- You can always learn something from anyone.
- Clarity in planning before starting a project is a great idea.
- Check your measurements and your plans before taking action.
Today is a good day to step back from your work and re-evaluate your progress. Ask yourself if there is a quicker, better or easier way to accomplish your task. Plan your work, measure your steps, work your plan and success will be yours!
About the Author:
John Carpenter Dealey is dedicated to helping people solve problems, develop great plans and take action to reach their goals. Visit his website at: http://www.mastermindsoaring.com/
John joined his first MasterMind group in 1972, and using these principles, became a “self-made millionaire” by the age of 27. Learn how to apply this powerful process for your success with a free subscription to MasterMind Tips ezine at: http://www.dr-mastermind.com/