It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time



On an early Thursday morning last August, I walked into the office with a hole in my stomach. Following my regular routine, I went to the kitchen area and tossed two loaves of bread into the great belly of the toaster oven, which boasts a 12-inch pizza capacity. As usual, I waited for the oven to heat up while I planned my day alongside.

Mo, the HR Director of the company, entered the kitchen and proceeded to caution me. Ali, the company CEO, is not in a good mood … so, I should hurry up with my daily ritual. I decided to give the toaster oven one more minute with my breakfast. The next minute, I am meticulously spreading some peanut butter over my toast.

“How long does it take you to make your breakfast every day?”

Lo and behold, it is Ali at the kitchen door. Now, I know that it is a rhetorical question.

So, I patiently wait for the follow-up:

“Add up all the time you spend every morning in this kitchen making your breakfast. And when you get the answer, go tell our closest competition how much you have helped them!”

So, I did. (The first part of what he said at least.)

I finished making my breakfast and took it to my desk, where I looked at the following conservative figures:

• Number of work weeks in a year: (N) = 48 [10 days of personal leave; 10 days of holidays]

• Average number of days/week I make my breakfast: (d) = 4

• Average number of minutes I spend/breakfast session: (m) = 15

• Total number of minutes that I spend/year on breakfast: (T) = N*d*m

• (T) = 48*4*15

• (T) = 2880

• Total = 48 hours

Before I made these calculations, I was taken aback by a CEO’s interference in an issue as “minor” as making a simple breakfast. But after these calculations, I realize that six working days of a year is a lot of time to lose for a small business!

So, what next? Blame the toaster oven, of course! It dawned on me: A man is only as good as the tool he owns. Every morning I would sit in the kitchen, submissive to the status quo of the slow burning toaster oven. I was using the wrong tool all along – wasting both time and energy. That afternoon, I went to a Target store nearby and bought a real toaster – you know, the one with two slots for the bread. The following morning my new ‘tool’ would help me cut the length of my breakfast ritual about 75%!

The following figures would emerge:

• Average number of minutes I spend/breakfast session (m’) = 4

• Total number of minutes that I spend/year on breakfast (T) = N*d*m

• (T) = 48*4*4

• (T) = 768

• Total = 12.8 hours

It is always convincing when numbers tell you a story. To tell a story, however, needs a visionary intervention. At MetroStar Systems, we are a team of visionaries. As such, we keep our eyes on the bigger picture but we don’t let the “minor” details slide. We don’t cry over spilled milk but make the best of the situation. We think both inside and outside the box, and if the box is not right, we change it. We are an agile team of active learners and proactive workers – we are professionals.