Kaizen is one of the many strategies used today to reach better efficiency in work-related practices. The word comes from the Japanese and it literally means “change for the better” or improvement; something that makes perfect sense because this business philosophy centers on the continuous enhancement of working practices and processes in general. Kaizen can positively affect many aspects of a business endeavor, from the logistics side of the house all the way to business relations and the supply chain. The fact that this philosophy can be so easily adapted to the needs of the organization poses the question: What else can Kaizen help me accomplish?
In today’s article, here at David Kiger’s Blog we want to once again talk about Kaizen being applied to something other than what we are used to reading about. In this occasion, we want to focus on the advantages that Kaizen implementation may have in your personal life and how the techniques that Japanese businesses have tried and tested can make a difference in the way you do things everyday. Anything from the most basic everyday mundane actions to the big decisions and life changes you make can be greatly enhanced by using Kaizen.
One of the first things you must do to get started, is to sit down and consciously take a hard look at yourself and start identifying areas in your life that need improvement. These life changes do not have to be anything big at first, you can and should start with small simply things that can help you make your day more effective.
Ask yourself questions about making your morning routine more efficient: How can you spend less time answering emails? Is it possible to make time to work out every morning before work? Can I eat something better for my health as breakfast?
It is very possible that at this point you may not be completely sure of how to get there, but at least you are beginning to identify the areas of your personal life that need improvement and thus taking a step in the right direction. At this point is more important to think about how it can be done, forget about why it can’t be accomplished.
At this point, is very easy to come up with excuses that will delay the process. It is easy to get sidetracked and postpone the beginning of that road to eating better, working out or learning a new language. Remember that Kaizen is about small improvements that work in a continuous and steady manner. It may be easy to get discouraged at first, but breaking that first barrier of hesitation is instrumental in making the process work.
Where do I go from here?
Seeking perfection does not ensure progress or success. You must understand that sometimes is better to find a way to get things done before you attempt to make a process perfect. The trick is to think about taking small steps in the right direction before moving on to bigger and better things. Small goals work subconsciously inside your brain making you feel like you are really advancing and making it seem like an easy and obtainable endeavor. Rewards are important for your mind and to feel like your efforts are truly being directed towards tangible and measurable success.
Learning a new language is a perfect way to exemplify this concept. Think about dedicating enough time every day to learn one new sentence or to add five new words to your vocabulary. The goal is small, achievable and it may be even considered too small to make a difference. If you truly stick to it, after just one week you can see real results that can be tested and measured as your vocabulary has grown and assurance and make you feel like you are honestly taking control of things and creating change for your life.
Turn those statements that create anxiety and doubt into questions that beg for an answer and spark those moments of clarity. Instead of saying “I should definitely eat healthier” try something like “How can I improve the health value of the food I consume during the work day?” or “What ingredients can I replace in my food for a much healthier option?” Making those statements is telling yourself things you already know, instead start finding solutions by questioning yourself and finding practical ways of getting the ball rolling when it comes to change.
Kaizen is a process that never truly ends. After you get a grip on the general situation and start to witness the benefits from continuous slow and steady improvement, then it is time to sincerely challenge yourself. Start observing your newly improved process and questioning again about how to make it even better.
The benefits of Kaizen are time tested and can be accurately measured under objective conditions; this is why you can take advantage of them and start today changing many aspects of your personal life.