It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time



From the archives: This blog was written in 2009, loosely updated in 2021. 

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

Mo, MetroStar's HR Director (now Chief Operating Officer as of 2021), entered the kitchen and proceeded to caution me that the day was busy. So, I began to hurry along with my daily ritual. I decided to give the toaster one more minute to really toast 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?” A deep voice spread through the kitchen.  

I looked up and lo and behold, Ali Reza Manouchehri, our CEO, was standing at the kitchen door. I knew it was a rhetorical question, but I couldn't help to start to analyze it. 

I patiently waited for his follow-up.

“Add up all the time you spend every morning in this kitchen making your breakfast. And when you get the answer, let me know if there is a better way to do it."

I finished making my breakfast and took it to my desk, where I took the question and created the following conservative figure. Because, after all, his simple question made me think about how time is money. 

Number of workweeks 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 
The average number of minutes I spend during a breakfast session: (m) = 15 
Total number of minutes that I spend a year on breakfast: (T) = 2880 
N*d*m(T) = 48*4*15(2880)
Total = 48 hours per year making breakfast 

Before I made these calculations, I never thought my simple breakfast would take away so much of my year. But after these calculations, I realized six working days of a year is a lot of time to lose. I wanted to maximize my workday better, but I also wanted my toast. So, I made a plan. 

So, what's next? Blame the toaster oven, of course! 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 which was 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 made perfectly for the bread. The following morning my new ‘tool’ helped me cut the length of my breakfast ritual by about 75 percent!

My new number from the above equation: 12.8 hours (That's a lot of time saved!) 

Numbers tell you a story. To tell a convincing story; however, you need a visionary intervention. At MetroStar, we are a team of visionaries. 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.