I eat a lot of nuts as part of a modified Bulletproof Diet. This means that the office at PBworks is filled with different types of nuts, ranging from raw walnuts and almonds to roasted pistachios.
One of results of having so many bag of nuts and other snacks is that you need a way to keep them all from spilling. We've used binder clips as a solution.
The problem is, there always seemed to be a shortage of binder clips. We'd end up doubling up (clipping shut two bags with a single clip) or leaving a bag unclipped (which led to the disastrous sunflower seed spill of '11).
Over the past few years, many of our team members have used their highly valuable brains and time to double clip nut bags, tie them with rubber bands, and otherwise maintain order.
This morning, I took 3 minutes to go to our supply closet, pull out a box of 12 binder clips, and single clip all the bags. There were three clips left over, which I left next to the securely sealed bags.
For years, we've been wasting our time futzing around with a clip shortage when 50 feet away, hundreds of binder clips lay unused.
How many nut clip situations can you find, either in your work or your personal life? In how many ways could you improve your productivity and happiness by taking a few minutes to tackle eminently fixable problems?
P.S. This is very similar to Stephen Covey's principle of sharpening the saw, but I think the nut clip principle goes further. Covey focuses on making investments in yourself; the nut clip principle shows that solving even seemingly trivial problems that have persisted because of sheer inertia can have a real impact on your day.