In a previous life, every morning I would go for a run, and I’d see a small group of Japanese ladies going through their daily exercise routine, called Rajio Taisou. I know this because one day I actually stopped and asked. They even let me have a go! Rajio Taiso was introduced in Japan in 1928, was broadcast on the radio, and remains very popular. It is basically a nice stretch and workout, while allowing you to clear the mind and prepare for the day.
Here in sunny Britain I think it is unlikely that I’ll get many volunteers to start doing this every day, and I genuinely think that is a real pity. Us Brits are way too busy to start the day like that anyway. And those that do exercise tend to want to do so in a posh spa, or with wheels or some other gadget. Including me it has to be said!
But what we have noticed is that taking a few minutes before launching in to a piece of work to quietly, and often subconsciously, contemplate and plan the day ahead pays huge dividends. There are several versions of this work delaying process, and they all have the net effect of increasing workshop productivity:
- If you didn’t the night before, before you start work, clear your bench and workspace of all tools and mess from the previous day. Get every tool back in its rightful place. Put any shavings, old rags and abrasives away to the bin. Sweep the space around the bench too, while you’re at it. A tidy bench is a tidy mind, and all that.
- When you get to the workshop, make a cup of tea or coffee. Now I know that won’t take much asking! This especially works if you’ve a frustrating commute. Ours is an 8 minute bimble down some Cornish roads, so not too stressful, but a cuppa always seems to put the outside world to the back of the mind, and brings the day ahead into focus. And it is sooo relaxing!
- Use a regular notepad to right down your work plan for the day. Make it as detailed as is necessary. So long as you make a point of actually using it, it will become a valuable and practical ritual that will usually put you in a good frame of mind, and will always save you time. And you’ll build a very satisfying collection over the years.
- And if none of those rock your boat, face a large oak tree and, with the sun on your back, breathe in, breathe out, and repeat.
Until next time,