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KAIZEN up your life:
Have you ever heard of KAIZEN? KAIZEN is a Japanese term meaning good change. The KAIZEN philosophy stands for continuous improvement through incremental change and is being used by multinational organizations over the years to improve their business processes. Interestingly, this renowned philosophy can also be applied to our day to day life to make things simple and better.
By implementing KAIZEN in your life you will be able to take small steps each day towards achieving a bigger goal. Say for example you want to get better at reading- you cannot finish a book on day 1 but you can start by reading 1 page today, keep increasing the page limit every single day and just in a few days time you will finish the book. The idea is to keep improving on a continuous basis and bring positive change in every aspect of your life like home, work/business, health, family/relationships and mind.
So if you are looking for an effective way to enhance your productivity and get things done in a systematic way,
Here are 5 key principles of KAIZEN to bring continuous improvement in your life -
Seiri or Sort:
The first step in KAIZEN planning is Seiri meaning to sort things. Now in order to apply this to your life, you need to sort out what are the things that are important to you, or matter the most and what are the ones that are unnecessary or unwanted.
You need to figure out your priorities, it can be your work/business, money, family, health or some other passion and interests. You need to understand what are the things that bring joy in your life, which relationships do you value the most and what are the things that make you feel accomplished and satisfied. Figure out what is the importance of money in your life and how much money you want to earn to fulfill your future needs. Understand if you are taking care of your physical and mental health. Once you understand all the things that are important to you, you will be able to figure out ways to improve them and nurture them.
In addition to the good things that you want to focus on, also sort out the negative things that you want to minimize. It can be time wasting things like arguments, petty fights, excessive use of social media, or some toxic people in your life whom you should avoid. Figure out what are these things that are holding you back and bringing negativity into your life, once you do that you will be able to take a conscious effort to stay away from them and make your life better.
Seiton or organize:
Once you figure out what are the most important things in your life it's time for the second step- Seiton meaning to organize the essentials and put them in order. Depending upon what your essentials are you need to find a way to achieve them and set aside dedicated time to work on them.
If money is important to you, you need to figure out how to save more and invest your money wisely, if family is important to you, you need to find out ways to spend more quality time with your family and get to know them better. If you are planning to improve your health you need to put in order a diet plan and exercise routine. If you are planning to cut down on time consuming mundane tasks you need to figure out how to automate them or delegate them to someone else. Once you do that, you can reallocate that time towards something more meaningful.
You can schedule tasks, use planners, organize your everyday routine, your home and your workplace to align in with your priorities and make your life more productive. Organization will improve your focus, bring more positive energy and enhance your creativity. Make sure you do not compromise on your happiness whenever you organize your daily life.
Seiso or Shine:
The third step in KAIZEN is Seiso meaning to shine or practice cleanliness. You can implement this in your day to day life by keeping your home and workplace clean and clutter free. For your home you can assign each room or area to a member of your family and make him responsible to keep it clean and tidy. Adopt minimalism, cut down on unnecessary clothes, charms, old belongings, unwanted crockery and all the fluff that is taking excessive space. Once every corner of your home is sparkling clean it will bring a positive vibe and set the mood right for you and your family.
Similarly you also need to find a way to keep your work desk and office clean and organized to help you focus better on your tasks. You will experience instant positivity and improved efficiency once you declutter your office.
Seiso is not just for your home and office, you should also extend this principle to cleanse your body and mind. Stay away from unhealthy foods, unhealthy lifestyle and adopt better habits. Eat wholesome foods, exercise regularly and stay hydrated. Practice meditation and breathing techniques to cleanse your mind and develop a positive mindset. Detoxing your body and mind will bring out the best in you and help you live a better life.
Seiketsu or Standardize:
The fourth principle of KAIZEN is Seiketsu referring to standardization. You can apply this to your life by setting higher standards for yourself and developing standardized processes to perform the first three steps. For example if you want to implement the first 3 steps for your home, you need to set standard processes like decide a day in a week when you do laundry, a fixed time of the day when you clean the dishes, assign compartments to organize your clothes and so on.
Similarly you can develop standard processes to organize your work and day to day tasks like using a digital planner to schedule your tasks, arranging your filing cabinet and setting timeout for critical activities or important meetings.
To apply standardization to maintain good health you can plan your weekly diet including your daily meals and decide your workout routine. You can set a fixed time to workout on a daily basis and plan the type of exercise you will perform to get the best result. You don't have to do 100 squats on day 1, keep the KAIZEN philosophy in mind, start small and keep improving slowly but continuously.
You can even develop a standard process to deal with negative thoughts or to mend toxic relationships. Figure out ways to control your anger, it can be anything like counting numbers to practicing deep breathing. Understand how you generally react to a crisis, what makes you sad or angry, what demotivates you and what makes you feel happy. Once you analyze your thoughts you will know how to process them to get a desired outcome.
Shitsuke or Sustain:
The final principle of KAIZEN is Shitsuke or to sustain, you need to practice self-discipline to sustain this new way of life. You need to be determined to bring a positive change and to let go of your bad habits. You need to stop making excuses and start practicing the new processes consistently. You need to avoid mood swings and stop procrastinating. Don’t let irrational thoughts clutter your mind, figure out ways to stay motivated. Don’t become the victim of negative self-talk and overthinking, live in the present and embrace the KAIZEN philosophy. Set achievable goals, break them into smaller milestones and work everyday to get closer to your target.
Studies say that it takes only 21 days to form a habit, so make sure you are consistent in your actions to make the KAIZEN principles part of your daily routine. Abide by the standard processes you have set in step 4, and if necessary make changes in them to sustain them in long term.
Once you develop these good habits, you can imbibe them in others around you. You can share the KAIZEN philosophy with your family, friends, colleagues and together strive to bring positive change at home and at work. Involving others in your KAIZEN journey will help you to benefit from their experience and improve your relationship with the ones that matter to you.
You cannot achieve greatness in one day, but by following KAIZEN philosophy you can work on doing small things everyday to yield bigger results in the long term. Rather than grumbling about the things that are wrong, you can focus on how you can improve them every single day. This attitude will not only make you more productive and efficient but will also bring you peace of mind.
KAIZEN will help you to declutter your workspace, your home and your mind. It will automatically lead to better time management and help you get things done. You will also see a positive impact of KAIZEN in your relationships and people management skills as you shed away all the negativity and set your priorities right.
So if you are willing to live a well organized, clutter free, balanced life that keeps getting better every single day, KAIZEN up your life today!