There are three types of activity in any business, from the small one man service operators to BHP.

    1. Doing all the things that generate revenue, today, tomorrow, and into the future,
    2. Doing the necessary things that support the generation of revenue,
    3. All the other crap that takes time, costs money, and does not add any value to anyone, just costs.

Every person in business should be maximising 1, ensuring that the time and resources spend on 2 are as productive as possible, and eliminating 3.

 I had a carpenter at my home a while ago, building a deck. Watching him prepare a joist, I noticed the rule of three operating.

    1. Cutting the joist was adding value, and ultimately what I was paying him for
    2. Setting up his drop saw, organising to feed in the timber to be cut, measuring the wood for the cut point, and a few other things were necessary in order to cut the timber accurately.
    3. The walking back and forward to his van to bring in things he had forgotten, looking for his pencil, then leaving it in an inappropriate spot, and a whole lot of other stuff, was waste.
    4. It took 10 seconds to cut the wood, probably 3 minutes to do all the necessary stuff, and another 15 minutes to do all the unnecessary stuffing around. For a 10 second cut, I paid for just over 18 minutes, of which 15 minutes was waste.

The rule of three at work.