Last year, after our bookclub read Lean In, there was a scene I kept thinking about: Sheryl Sandberg tells the story of a woman who would dress her kids in their school clothes at bedtime so she could save 15 precious minutes in the morning. It really stayed with me for the way it could seem at once completely crazy and completely rational. I mean, who really needs pajamas anyway? The book really gets you thinking about for whom those 15 minutes are precious, and why.
But it also struck a chord because it’s a real problem (okay, in that relative sense of the phrase “real problem”). Even in preschool, the routine of getting the kids dressed and out the door can drag on for what feels like forever. So while we haven’t done anything as drastic as putting the kids in their clothes at night, we have switched up the order of our routine and it has made all the difference: the new rule is that you have to be dressed for breakfast. Now Hudson races to get himself dressed first thing in the morning, motivated by the promise of bananas and peanut butter, yogurt and granola, and (usually) an episode of Octonauts.
I hadn’t really thought much about the impact of this change until I read Charles Duhigg’s latest essay, “How Asking 5 Questions Allowed Me to Eat Dinner With My Kids,” in The New York Times. (Did you read his book, The Power of Habit? It’s still one of my favorites.)
He discovers—through a Toyota production technique of asking five questions of a single problem to get at its root cause—that the way to get the time he needs to sit down to dinner as a family in the evening can be solved by getting to school on time, which can be solved by having his kids set out clothes at night and getting dressed first thing in the morning.
For him, the “five whys” technique revealed a secret about productivity: “Productivity isn’t about running faster or pushing yourself harder, but rather, about working smarter and paying a bit more attention to what is really going on.”
What do you think? Maybe putting her kids in their school clothes at night isn’t so crazy? Anything you’ll be trying the five whys to address?
I can’t wait to read his new book.
Here are some other things of note…
I am horrified to think that there might come a day that my children will be taught how to react to a shooter on campus. The idea that they might have to even think about it sends chills up my spine. Some levity to hopefully inspire change.
Both of these sweet stories touch on pollution and our ocean’s health, so this book might be an interesting related read.
Dream car…for a 5-year-old (I’m also eager to see the adult version that’s supposed to be announced at the end of the month.)
Because you shouldn’t have to choose between vanilla and chocolate.
Really enjoyed this interview with Lauren Bush Lauren and what she said about becoming a mother: “Going into it, I thought the hardest part would be lack of sleep, but it’s actually been wrapping my head around this new identity and balancing it with my business.”
Changing the clocks this weekend! Cheers to longer days and eating dinners outside. Just ordered another set.
Have a great weekend![Photo via Paul and Paul Shop: Yay Sweater]