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Job Stress and Lean…and Rainbows?

Last night, I was trying to think of a topic for an article to write for this morning’s post. At first, I felt my blood pressure start to rise in lockstep with the rising job stress. But then, I remembered something.

I know Lean principles.

I suddenly realized that I’ve been following my processes, so I have a log of article ideas ready to go. I looked through them, and saw this topic—how Lean reduces job stress.

And it’s not just idea generation I’ve done process improvement on. I have a database to record what I’ve already written about and to guide me through my workflow for each type of webpage I do. I’ve got snippets of code that I can paste in for advertising and other technical posting tasks. I have checklists for all of the repetitive tasks I do. (Mark Graban mentioned using checklists as well in his Lean Blog just a few days ago.) All in all, I’ve gotten pretty efficient at getting an article uploaded and ready to go out on time.

Jeff’s Personal Rainbow

But for some reason, despite seeing mounds of evidence over the years that Lean makes jobs easier, I still get that rainbow feeling when I actually see the benefit. That’s the feeling you get when you see those colors arching through the sky. Even though you know the science behind it, and you’ve seen at least a couple of hundred other rainbows in your life, it’s still pretty cool to actually see one more.

So my job stress was reduced by my own ongoing Lean efforts. Having well defined processes and the right tools to do my job quickly brought my blood pressure back in check.

By the way—the picture of the rainbow was one taken by me in the Cascade Mountains about a decade ago—back when people used film and had to wait to get the image developed. It was a rather isolated 7 mile hike up into the mountains, so I’m pretty sure that my friend and I were the only people in the world to see that particular rainbow.

Fortunately, getting the rainbow feeling when you realize that Lean has bailed you out again is nowhere near as unique as my rainbow. I’d love to hear your stories in the comment sections about times when you suddenly realize your job was easier because of a Lean practice you were following.


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