Steve Jobs famously standardised his wardrobe – bespoke Issey Miyake mock turtleneck sweaters, of which he apparently owned around a hundred, and Levi 501s.

For Steve, focussing his time and energy on the things that mattered most to him – his business and his family – was more important than having a varied wardrobe and spending even just a few minutes each day deciding what to wear, especially when in his position as a businessman and a design visionary, he might be expected to be well groomed and always wearing highly fashionable outfits (which might have taken more than just a few minutes each day).

So, he found an outfit that he liked, and he just wore that most of the time, and certainly when at public events. Doing so, for Steve, removed the wasteful and unnecessary time spent choosing clothes and matching ensembles.

This is a great example of applying lean thinking to one’s lifestyle. Not everyone wants to wear the same outfit every single day, most people find value in expressing your personality through how they dress, but for a time Steve Jobs was probably one of the busiest and hardest working people on earth, so every second he could save in his day to allow him to focus on the things that were, for him, the most important, is an example of removing waste and concentrating on value. Equally, it’s a great example of how the definition of value can be different depending on your point of view. Again, Steve Job’s time saved in not having to choose outfits or go shopping, meant more time to spend on his work and his family, and this had more value to him than expressing himself through changing fashion choices.