Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

An OlyO’s List For Your Work

There used to be a fantastic pizza place on Highway 101 in Encinitas, California: OlyO’s. (It’s been a wine bistro since 2006.) The small space had casual tables and wooden benches that were always crowded but fun. There was noisy conversation, laughter and a beach within walking distance. Dave and Sue Olsen were the owners and when Dave chatted with me briefly one time when I visited, I felt very special because he had a role in making OlyO’s the perfect California beach town pizzeria. (And, the pizza was spectacular!)

There was a sign at the front, “If there is time to lean, it is time to clean.” Dave told me he had been given that advice early in his career. He and the employees apparently followed the advice, because they were constantly wiping, washing, tidying and putting away. For a hectically busy, small pizza kitchen, it looked very clean.

Since then I’ve heard bartenders and store managers say that adage–and I’ve said it to myself! I have a mental OlyO’s list of things to do–recurring tasks, now and then chores and things to start even if I don’t get them done right away. It’s been useful for keeping me energized, productive and caught up with tasks I might normally procrastinate about.

Create An OlyO’s List

If you’re supervising, managing or working with a group, enlist their assistance in developing a list of things that can be done instead of killing time in the afternoon, before lunch, the days before vacation or when the schedule has some free time–even five minutes. Or, make a list just for yourself.

  1. Clean the break room or coffee area.
  2. Clean around the copier or in the supply room.
  3. Clean your desk top or get rid of clutter.
  4. Contact someone who could be a good resource.
  5. Do something on a project that always needs work (Research, organize, file, shred, replace, stock, clean, inventory or whatever ongoing work is required.)
  6. Delete old emails or old files or organize them more conveniently.
  7. If you’re going to talk with coworkers anyway, talk about work in a positive way or focus on solving problems not just complaining about them.
  8. Pick three recurring problems and write them on a card to place where you can see it. Now and then use your less-busy times to think of solutions to those problems. Put a due date and swear you’ll have at least one option to consider or to present to the group.
  9. Leave your work area if you can and go to another area to say hello–without being disruptive there and without taking more than a few minutes at most.
  10. Make a list of the people who have helped you recently and send a thank you note. It doesn’t have to be mushy, just sincerely appreciative.
  11. Put something on your calendar and get it started as a way to force yourself to take action.
  12. Scan some material you want to save or can share.
  13. Get started on something you’ve been stalling about.
  14. Produce some work in advance of when you need it, so it will be ready to go.
  15. Freshen a PowerPoint presentation or edit a document you use but haven’t evaluated in awhile.
  16. Use some of the ideas in my article on Time To Tidy Your Work Area.

Make a list that fits your situation or have your group make a combined list, then distribute it or have it in your desk drawer, billfold or workspace. Use it to provide a push when the temptation is to lean instead of clean!


September 17th, 2010 Posted by | Food, Fitness, Fun, Keeping On!, Life and Work, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers | 10 comments