As we start a new month, I’m sure there are goals that you want to achieve, both personally and professionally. A great way to reach them is through the concept of Kaizen, which is a Japanese word meaning “improvement.” It is often used in a more specific concept, as an approach to project management and efficiency.
The term was born in manufacturing, where it described the way in which making a small change to a process in an assembly line could result in HUGE increases in efficiency and net profit thanks to automation and force multiplication. This concept quickly caught on in the worlds of business and self-development respectively. In both contexts, small changes can add up to big impact. Many companies today utilize the principals of Kaizen and are seeing great results.
Kaizen is taken to mean that you should engage in “micro-workouts” and “micro-tasks;” that you should try to form new habits by doing something extremely small and easy. In the book, The Kaizen Way, psychologist Robert Maurer, says that Kaizen means ‘small steps lead to big changes.”
To be more productive and reach goals, Kaizen is a great tool. An example of a Kaizen approach would be to look at everything you do in a typical workflow: that means every step you take from booting up the computer, to making coffee, to answering emails, to uploading articles.
You’d then see which of these steps was taking the longest, and see if there was any way to make them each more efficient – to thereby gain more time and freedom.
For instance, if you fix your computer’s booting up speed by five minutes, that could result in 25 minutes of extra time per week. What if you stopped taking so many coffee breaks? Or what if you slightly altered the order of your main tasks, such that you didn’t need to switch between programs so much? A few changes like this and you could save hours every week to become significantly more productive and be more accomplished in getting things done.
A law firm used Kaizen through the simple act of having their receptionist stand and greet each client upon entering and when leaving. They found their client retention rate exceed, which led to more referrals for their services. This simple act made clients feel acknowledged and special and kept them coming back.
Taking this further, Kaizen also applies with getting what you want in your personal life. You can take this exact approach to your current lifestyle in order to make time and energy for the things you want to do. That might mean doing dishes as they are used, so that you can spend less time washing up in the evening or even getting a cleaning service (if you can afford one).
Either way, this kind of thinking makes your daily grind more efficient. Therefore, you suddenly can fit in a few hours to workout and you have the energy to do so to boot! And the same goes for whatever else it is that you would like to achieve. Give Kaizen a try – track your results to see if your productivity and outcomes improved – what have you got to lose?
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