Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

The Gilbreth Guide to Holiday Shopping

PostedDecember 20, 2003

Download File (mp3)

Stressed by the holidays?  Maybe there's something to learn from the Gilbreths, a couple whose life raising twelve kids is portrayed in the original "Cheaper By The Dozen" story.  The parents were also highly successful engineers who pioneered time management and motion efficiency techniques—and systematically practiced them at home.  Those who knew her say Lillian Gilbreth certainly wouldn't have waited until the last minute to holiday shop, when lines are long and parking spaces hard to find.  At their house, optimal gift wrapping procedures would even be worked out in advance.  Engineering experts agree the Gilbreths would advise procrastinating present hunters to do lots of pre-excursion planning... like creating files on recipients and a store routing map.  Their life-long goal was to increase what Lillian called "happiness minutes"—something we can all use.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.