A Blueprint for Continuous Improvement

Kaizen is often used to describe the process of continuous improvement. That means making lots of small changes on a regular basis in order to ultimately improve the operation on a larger scale. It’s often applied to business and, particularly, to areas like manufacturing and engineering.

But it can also be applied to your own personal goals. If you take the approach of continuous improvement – of making lots of tiny little changes in your life on a regular basis – then over time you’ll be able to ‘upgrade’ every single aspect of your life and, in a few years, you can be in a whole different place.

Countless studies tell us that people resist extreme change.‘ We get so used to doing things the same, which gives comfort, anytime we move away from that state we may resist the new (even if it is something we want).  So,  if you think you can wake up one morning and become a highly disciplined individual, then you’re in for a big surprise.

In order for change to be successful it must be incremental and it must be holistic. By starting small, that new action won’t feel threatening so you engage in that task. To make changes in your life, and your lifestyle, you need to make lots of small, manageable changes; of course, it’s unrealistic to think you can make many changes at once.

This is what seems to set someone up for failure; we can look at the New Year’s goals, i.e. make or save more money, get a new job, lose weight …each of these is a big goal in itself but how many lump them all together.

Choosing one, and the being methodical in your efforts, will give more clarity and motivating to go after them until achieved. This is why Kaizen can do for you.

How to Use the Process of Kaizen

So how does Kaizen actually look once you start using it? How do you take this idea and turn it into a reliable blueprint that you can follow?

A good place to start would be at the beginning. So look for one small change you can make to your lifestyle that can help to serve you in some tiny way in achieving your goal.

Let’s say you need more time but, looking deeper, what you really need is  more organization of what is involved in your time; a small change could include buying a planner, or wall calendar, and writing tasks out so you visually see them. Having a reminder, such as timer on your phone, will prompt to get tasks done. Checking them off will show accomplishment so you keep going. This is brain-prompting.

These are all a simple change you can make – but the result could be a half an hour of extra sleep or spending time with a hobby or your family.  This can make a huge difference to your energy level and getting more done throughout the day.

What else do you need to achieve your goals? If you need a little more money then perhaps you could look for a way to save $1 a day. $1 a day is a tiny thing to have to change, so maybe it just means that you have a cup of tea in the morning instead of a coffee, or forego a Starbucks for a day.  earlier.

Now you have 30 minutes of extra sleep and an additional $20 a week. Those are two tiny changes but they’ve just made it much easier for you to accomplish anything else you want to in your life because you have more energy and more money… What else might be possible?


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It's Friday – Time to Review

First off, TGIF! This is the last day of the work-week, for most, while also being a long weekend due to Christmas being Monday. While most are just trying to get through the day and get on with their time off, there is s till work to get done.
A great exercise to do today, and every Friday, is to go back and review your week to see what your ‘wins’ were, as well as what did not (and why); there are several benefits to doing so:

  • it shows your accomplishments, as these often get forgotten in the busyness of the week. It’s important to see that you are doing more than you believe which elevates your confidence and motivates you to continue on
  • It shows what you did not get done – no explanation on this one but it’s important to see why they did not – did something get in the way (an outside source), was it you and some underlying fear, etc. Without knowing you will continue these patterns
  • It shows what’s important to you regarding where you place your focus, and what tasks align with your skills and strengths. Often times, without realizing it, you may place importance on activities that feel ‘comfortable’ or are non-threatening, and not tackle those that are important and create high emotion. Do you read emails when you should be writing that report?
  • It shows where your time-wasters are so you can make corrections – time wasters occur for reasons I just stated – there is some underlying fear that arises and takes over. The amygdala (fight or flight) actives, releasing cortisol which hits the executive functions in the brain leaving you to put them off or avoid completely. Understanding this will help you to create a schedule you can stick with and get more done and plan for pushing past when those times occur
  • Its shows you how to set goals and what you need to prioritize – reviewing the past week’s list can uncover patterns for how you set goals and how you prioritize those activities (if you do, which you should). Recognizing your work patterns can go a long way to reinforcing those that are having an effect and those you need to stop doing. Prioritizing tasks is another key element to accomplishment and gives you direction on how you plan your day; overwhelm occurs when you think all of your given tasks have to be done at once so giving them a rating number will alleviate this problem. You can give them a 1-2-3, etc. or an A-B-C rating so you have no doubt on which to work on first.
  • It shows you what needs to get done for next week’s to-do list – now that you’ve reviewed your current week, you can take any unfinished tasks and carry them over to your new list, giving them a priority rating, and then add any new items. You will be clearer on how to start your week and can rest easy on your days off. You won’t wake up in the middle of the night, suddenly remembering that you forgot to do something needed.

This exercise will go a long way to your productivity and managing your time throughout the day. Your days will go by smoother from planning better, which all starts with a review. Wishing you  relaxing weekend!
Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting focuses on workplace happiness and organizational success. If you need help gaining clarity on your business or career goals, why not get some help – stop the struggle and call today to get started! https://cyscoaching.com or barbara@cyscoaching.com. For more great tips, visit our other blog at https://allaboutcareersites.com

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