Got a Second?

Suppose you saved a second today. 

You went to work and you found a way to shave one second off the time it takes you to complete your daily tasks. Your achievement will most likely not make the corporate newsletter, or have any impact on the corporate financial statements. So, who cares???

We care...and you should, as well!

One of the themes of Lean MathTM is that the use of mathematics can aid and sharpen our learning, which will improve our decision making.

So let’s figure out the benefits of that one second improvement.Let’s assume that you work 50 five day weeks in a year that is, 250 working days a year. So after one year, that one second would have saved you 250 seconds or little over 4 minutes. And for each subsequent year, you would save another 250 seconds.So after 10 years you would have saved approximately 42 minutes.

But, because you are reading this blog, you are probably the type who is unlikely to stop with a one second improvement.

Suppose the next day at work you save an additional second, and this process repeats each day you go to work. Now how much time are you going to save in a year?

The equation to calculate the total time saved is easy to determine by considering a simple example. Consider how much time you have saved after 4 days.

got a second.1

It is clear from looking at the figure above that had you done this for only 4 days, at the end of the fourth day you would have saved a total of 10 seconds.  It is also clear that to determine how much total time is saved for any even number of days, we simply need to calculate:

got a second.2

where N  is the total number of days.

Using this equation is fairly easy to calculate with a little figuring the results shown in the table below.

got a second.3

In 15 years, by saving a second a day, the cumulative benefit is 1,953.6 hours or nearly one year! 

So the next time, someone asks you if you've "got a second?", consider the question carefully. Each and every second is extremely valuable.

There is 1 Comment

lloucka's picture

Now imagine if that second was invested in saving another second?!