Moving to Mars to find more time in the day


Sometimes solutions to big problems appear in the most unexpected places. In my case, a solution appeared while helping my daughter with a recent science project about Mars. It reminded me of something I knew once upon a time – a day on Mars is 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth.

What do you do if you can’t keep up with your work? Simple. Move to Mars. Surely, 40 extra minutes will allow you to finish everything. I told my husband to start packing and make arrangements.

His only response was, “I’ll get back to you.”

At the recent HEUG #Alliance15 Conference, I listened to Indiana University’s (IU) Rob Lowden talk about the school’s rethinking of business processes in response to the Student Services Initiative from its President. Personnel evaluated 190 business processes and are now systematically improving each one to enhance service for the students and staff. In many cases, OnBase by Hyland supports that positive change by eliminating folders, automating the routing and copying of documents and eliminating the need to manually update checklists in PeopleSoft.

Collaborative workflow development: Sharing speed & accuracy
During the same presentation, Cal Poly Pomona’s (CPP) Glendy Yeh also discussed how the Cal State University system is collaborating in their use of OnBase by exchanging the workflows they develop. For example, while one campus has made it a priority to focus on user access and provisioning, another campus could receive the same benefits much sooner – even though its focus is elsewhere. This shows how many smart people we have in the higher education space.

The kind of thinking represented by these two schools can improve my work, and my home as well. With the time staff will save in the future, it really opens up the possibility to accomplish more. So going back to the original question, what would I do if I had 40 extra minutes every day? Where would I apply that time?

At home I would be able to tackle all of the projects my family never has time to get to. (In my case, that is going through stacks of paper boxes and stuff around the house that we no longer need.)

At work, the answer is much more profound. Using the kind of thinking administered by IU and CPP, I could reveal where I have bottlenecks in my processes that hold other people up. I could see where I’m not meeting the service level agreements that I hold myself to or have openly committed to. I could find areas where, with more time, I could provide better service. By changing my thinking, I could find – and make good use of – those extra 40 minutes.

My husband has nixed the move to Mars. He says we can’t go until I get through those stacks of papers. So let’s find the time here on Earth to improve our processes at home and at work. If you want to see the presentation from Lowden and Yeh, let me know. Trust me, it is worth a read.


Laurel Stiller

Laurel Stiller brings her passion for helping institutions strategically maximize their efficiency to Hyland as its marketing portfolio manager for Higher Education. A graduate of Miami University, Ohio, with more... read more about: Laurel Stiller

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