Productivity

Kaizen – My Secret To Getting Things Done

Recently, I heard someone say: If you want the outcome to change, you have to change. Now when I heard this – I immediately thought of so many different areas in life that this could be applied to, so whether or not you need to change your personal workflow or change something in your personal life. The answer really is this simple – if you want the outcome to change, then you also have to realize that change begins with you and when you change; the outcome will change.

But just like with everything else in life only because the answer is this simple it certainly doesn’t mean doing it is just as simple. And trust me, after many years of improving clients lives, I certainly realize that change does not come easy and certainly won’t happen overnight. So let me share with you the “Practice of Kaizen” – something that I personally incorporate into my life each and every day and something that has substantially helped me better myself, my processes and my productivity since discovering Kaizen.

My #1 Secret To Change – The Practice Of Kaizen

Many of you may not have heard of Kaizen before, so first off let me explain in short what it is and what it can do for you. The practice of Kaizen can really be implemented in all areas of life and is known as a Japanese management strategy roughly translating to “Continuous Slow Improvement Or Good Change.” The practice of Kaizen emphasizes our well-being, working smarter not harder all the while developing best practices.

If you feel like you are ready for a change then Kaizen may be your way to go – Kaizen is simple and painless – a method that is extremely effective whether you want to make a small adjustment to your daily routine or completely overhaul of how you are doing things. Kaizen is all about small doable steps towards improvement. All you have to do is take one small – very small – step at a time. So what does this mean for you? The theory and practice of Kaizen is a continuous incremental improvementso instead of concentrating on solving the big problem such as being organized with only one step – getting organized, Kaizen suggests to make continual, incremental improvements over time that are aligned with your big goal. 

Somewhere along the lines through Magazines, Pinterest or Design and Organizing TV shows people have come to believe that being and getting organized is a one-time clean up in which items just get stuffed into pretty boxes. 

 But not so! It really is a way of living and all about changing your habits tiny step by tiny step. Are you ready? Simply start with Action Step Number 1 through 4 and be sure to add comments or questions in the comments box below 🙂

Action Step Number 1 

Spend a little time thinking about your number one area in life that you want to improve on. That’s it! Becoming clear on your goals often gets overlooked in the busyness of life but absolutely necessary if you want to move forward.

Action Step Number 2

Ask yourself the following questions: Why do you want to improve that area? What is the problem? What is the end result – goal that you are trying to achieve?

Illustration – Example: Let’s say you want to clear out your email inbox . . .  which in itself can be a daunting task so let me break it down for you based on action step 1 and 2. Why do you want to improve that area? Because I want to spend more time with my family. What is the problem or what’s keeping you from it? There are just so many emails and I simply don’t know where to start which ends up in procrastination. What is the end result – goal that you are trying to achieve? Empty my email inbox so that at the end of the day I feel accomplished and now have the time to spend quality time with my family. “It really helps to become clear why we do what we do and will help us hone in and focus.”

Action Step Number 3 Once you’ve completed step 1 and 2 – I want you to focus on the big outcome of what you want to improve – and how you can break the end result down into small manageable steps.

Small manageable steps staying with the email inbox illustration – example: First of all I want you to realize that a cleared out email inbox is a state of accomplishment that is the BIG OUTCOME and it takes time to achieve that and once you do achieve it – it must be continuously worked on in order to stay that way. Therefore a system is necessary – one that is easy to follow . . .

Illustration – Example: Email Organization: Set a specific time on your calendar to get started and one thing I highly recommend is to turn off all email / text notifications on your computer and phone when you are working PERIOD – no more interruptions.

  • Start small instead of going down to zero in your in-box begin with getting 50 down or  whatever you think you can actually achieve at each sitting (if you think it’s impossible from the get-go then it’ll be really hard to convince yourself otherwise) 
  • Categorize (File) everything – Create email folders, this will help you in the long run to keep things separated and getting things done. For example: To Do, To Read, Photos. Create Parent Folders (Categories) and then Sub Folders (Sub Categories.)

Parent Folder – Clients |

Sub Folders  Clients A – I, Clients J – R, Clients S – Z

  • Delete, delete and delete some more – Spend at least ten minutes each day deleting your emails. (remember tiny steps)
  • This was just a small example of how to break down the big goal into small manageable tasks – implementing the small steps each and everyday will in the long run get you to achieve your end goal.

Action Step Number 3

Work a little on Step 3 Each and Every Day (Add a specific time to your calendar if necessary). Clearing your email in-box first and once you have achieved that, set yourself up with a daily routine in order to keep your email inbox under control. Possibly add a little sticky note to your computer screen as a reminder and to keep you motivated. You’ll see in no-time you will work down your emails and have that guilt free time for your family.

Would you like to know more about Kaizen – what it is, what it stands for and how you can implement the practice of Kaizen into your life? I can highly recommend this book.

The Spirit Of Kaizen – Creating Lasting Excellence One Small Step At A Time by Robert Maurer, PH. D. 

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Now it’s your turn. Do you find it hard to getting things done? What are you struggling with the most? What things have you found helped you? Join the discussion below.


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