First off, let’s take a look at how Just In Time (JIT) is defined in the business world:
“…a production strategy that strives to improve a business’ return on investment by reducing in-process inventory and associated carrying costs.”
Wouldn’t we all love that in our personal lives too? In the context of daily life, we constantly wish for better ROI on our time and energy, and it is the same two factors — time and energy — that we want to reduce wasting. The key here is to plan out tasks, work out the logistics, set reminders, and forget about it for the moment. Prioritize and expend your energy on what’s needed now, rather than preparing endlessly for a meeting scheduled for two weeks later.
For example, when I wanted to write this particular post, I did not spend hours writing a draft. I took a few minutes earlier today to jot down points that will make up this post and left it at that. And now, when I’m about to publish it, I dedicated a full hour (with no other interferences) turning those points into a proper write-up. Planned ahead enough, but no waste of time and energy. Just in time, not last minute. At work, I have noticed colleagues prepare for a meeting just minutes before it started and get a lot of details wrong — last minute rush.
Of course, a policy of Just In Time won’t work for every task on every day. However, our time on this planet can be utilized efficiently if we classify all the little things into the JIT category and save ourselves the anxiety of looking at tasks that need no immediate attention on our to-do list. Again, the important part about being a Just In Time person is to plan ahead, but not dwell on the plan, and to get back to it just when it needs attention. The difference? The last minute person doesn’t plan ahead or think about it until the last minute. But you’d be prepared — just in time.