How Standard Works helps on the worst Monday of the year

Today was the day that after a typical European summer break of six weeks, my two youngest boys had to go to school again (our teenager had 7 weeks of vacation and only starts on Wednesday with actual classes – no idea why).

Every parent knows that this can be one of the worst Monday’s of the year. After six weeks of relaxation, travelling, parties, sleeping late we had to get up early to go to school again. During summer, breakfast was a fluid thing. It all depended on who was up first, whether I went out for a swim first, if we still had ‘vete kaka‘ (which sound hilarious in Dutch) and if the sun was shining. Sometimes the oldest would sleep in and come later, but most of the time we had breakfast together, but very little structured.

Photo by <a href="">Deleece Cook</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>
Photo by Deleece Cook on Unsplash

So today, in order to make the start of this day not heavier than necessary, I went back to our pre-vacation standard work:

  • Get up at ~6:20, hit the shower and get dressed
  • Open up the curtains in the rooms of the boys
  • Feed the dog
  • Be a bit pleased that I set out the breakfast table already last night 😉
  • Make fruit snacks and lunch for the boys
  • By this time my wife has come down with the boys already dressed
  • Kids eat breakfast, I walk the dog
  • Kids relax a bit while we clean the table and finish the school bags
  • 8:15 walk to school

So did we have a perfect morning? No, our youngest clearly didn’t want to go to school and had some difficulty adjusting to a new schedule.

But the power of the Standard Work I started with last year, helped us make the start of this day not heavier than necessary. We knew what to do, we needn’t worry about all the steps or about forgetting stuff. And because of that, we could relax and spend time with the boys, help them along this day.

As with anything in Lean, standardisation of process helps you in two ways: 1) a smooth process without waste and 2) trust in a process gives you mental space and time to focus on what really matters: helping our boys get through the worst Monday morning of the year. And that matters, that’s value.