Kaizen continued

Posted on April 21, 2012


I have seen and heard the word ‘kaizen’ crop up a few times recently which prompted me to revisit a post I wrote about it in 2010.  Here it is below. Re-reading it has certainly pushed me to consider how well I’ve done with my three little intentions! I’ve def. improved on all three but not mastered them by any means … but that’s ok … it’s all about continual improvement after all!

My post To Crack or not to Crack led to an immediate response from my mum. Nothing new there then. Mothers always know best and are always the first to point out, annoyingly at times, things that take you an age to discover yourself. But what they sometimes forget to remember is that no amount of lecturing, kind words or cajoling will trigger a change. We only ever change when either forced to or because we are ready to.

In fact change is simply continuous self-development. In Japan, they have added goodness to the mix and call this Kaizen which means ‘To become good through change.’

As such, Kaizen is a great practice for exercising self-development. The principles are simple, timeless and easy to apply to your life. So read on, and introduce a little Kaizen into your life today.

1. Take baby steps

Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow. ” – Doug Firebaugh

You don’t need to make major and drastic changes – Kaizen is about taking slow and steady steps. Think about what in your life could be done better, more easily or more efficiently then start making one small change at a time. Once perfected, start over.

2. Eliminate waste

“If you have an hour, will you not improve that hour, instead of idling it away?” – Lord Chesterfield

Do you find much of your day is spent wasting time and energy on useless tasks? Wondering where you put something? Allowing yourself to be interrupted when reading then having to start the page over? Ask yourself which of these can be eliminated … wasteful tasks and thoughts alike.

3. Practise best practise

“It is always safe to assume, not that the old way is wrong, but that there may be a better way.” – Henry F. Harrower

Find ways to bring sanity to chaos and clarity to the clouds. Find short cuts for daily responsibilities or ask yourself if things can be delegated or done less often and in bulk.

So there you go, the three most basic principles of Kaizen, simple as. Now you need just embrace them and allow the changes to bear their own fruit.

As for how I plan to kaizen-up my life?

1) In my working day, I will endeavour to stop always trying to be a wonder woman intent of taking the concept of multi-tasking to a whole new level. Instead, I will do one thing, do it well, and then move on to the next. Wherever possible.

2) I will stop getting continually distracted by callers on Skype, status updates on Facebook and daily correspondence from running groups discussing the latest must-have protein bar or which shoe-laces have the greatest technology.

3) Instead of thinking I’m too pressed to do my big weekly supermarket shop, I will find the time. This will beat the often thrice-daily visits for mini-shops which tend to result in bumping into friends, popping into Costa or browsing through magazines and getting caught up in such trivia as which brand of mascara is best suited for running during the summer … and needless to say, taking way longer than my big shop, delivery and unpacking combined.

Final thought:

“If you can do one thing you thought was utterly impossible, it causes you to rethink your beliefs.” – Tony Robbins

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