The Domino Effect and Time Management

The Domino Effect and Time Management

Domino is a small, flat, thumb-sized block that has two ends, each bearing from one to six dots or pips. A traditional domino set has 28 unique pieces. It is used for playing positional games in which a player places one domino edge to edge against another, with adjacent faces matching in number or form some specified total. A player may also play a number-scoring game in which he or she tries to get all the dominoes to fall by adding them in rows or angular patterns.

In 2004, Domino’s was losing $943 million a year, and it looked like the company might fail. Then a new CEO came aboard. After listening carefully to employees and customers, he made some radical changes. He relaxed the dress code, revamped leadership training programs, and encouraged employees to speak openly. He emphasized that the company’s main complaint was slow delivery times, and he put Domino’s locations near college campuses to speed up deliveries. He and his team spiced up the pizza’s recipe, and they worked with crowd-sourced auto designers to create a purpose-built Domino’s delivery car—which an article called “a cheese lover’s Batmobile.”

Using these principles, Domino’s delivered record earnings in just five years, and today it is one of the world’s largest restaurant companies. The key to their success is what business experts call the Domino Effect: a change in one behavior can trigger a chain reaction that affects other behaviors as well. This is why it’s so important to focus on the top priority task of each day, because that will set the tone for everything else.

This Domino Effect is an essential part of effective time management. You might have to do some reorganizing of your to-do list, and you might even decide to abandon some of your less urgent tasks. But you should prioritize the most important tasks, and make sure to give them your full attention until they are completed. This will ensure that the rest of your work gets done on time.

Hevesh’s most elaborate creations contain hundreds of thousands of dominoes. She uses a version of the engineering-design process when creating them, starting with a theme or concept and brainstorming images or words that might help convey it. Then she tests each section of the design in slow motion with a video camera, making precise adjustments as needed.

When Hevesh finishes an installation, she stands back to admire it. Then she pushes the first domino over. As it falls, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, which provides the push on the next domino. This process continues until all the dominoes have fallen. The most mind-blowing domino creations take several nail-biting minutes to complete, but once they do, the results are stunning.