What would Frank do?

Have you ever read the book Cheaper by the Dozen? I discovered this treasure sometime in elementary school—I’m guessing it was an assigned book, but I honestly don’t remember.

I fell in love with the Gilbreth clan and their loving but, I would imagine, incredibly hard to live with father, Frank. For those of you who have never read the book, Frank Gilbreth—along with his wife Lillian—was a pioneer of time and motion study.

Organizations hired the Gilbreths to study everything from factory floors to kitchens and determine better, more efficient ways of developing workflows and floorplans. Throughout the book, the twelve Gilbreth children were frequently enlisted to test out whatever their dear ol’ dad was researching, and there are some interesting stories about applying efficiency to a wide variety of things, including baths and tonsillectomies.


I’ve been thinking about Frank of late in the context of modern life and the reality that we’ve made things so efficient we’re in danger of turning into lifeless blobs—ala the humans in a movie I actually didn’t like at all, WALL-E

Alexa will certainly be no help here. Though I can imagine plenty of things I’d love “her” to handle for me—like complicated flight arrangements, can she do that yet???— perhaps I’m better off turning off my own lights or walking to another floor to see if I’m out of butter.

Thank goodness technology is also helping nag me to better health. Exhibit #1: my Fitbit.

That hourly buzz on my wrist reminds me to get up already and move around. And I find myself looking for ways to be less efficient  just to push myself to achieve—or, glory be! surpass—my daily 10,000-step goal. I might not be making the ghost of Gilbreth happy, but my heart says “thank you!”

Posted in: Uncategorized

Knowledge junkie. Raconteur.

Vicky Franchino

I love to learn about new things. And I love to tell a good story. Let’s get together and tell yours!

More about Vicky

“Vicky is one of the best writers I’ve worked with. She provides a high quality product on time and is a joy to work with. Vicky is able to take complex financial subjects and turn them into readable prose.”

Jim Jerving, Editorial Director

More testimonials