Using Kaizen for Productivity, Efficiency, and Inspiration
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Life Strategies Coaching
In recent posts, I have introduced the concept of kaizen and provided some ways that you can make small improvements in different areas of your life. Those small changes can translate to significant changes over time.
Kaizen was initially used as a business concept. So it should come as no surprise that you can use it in your productivity. It can also offer ways to help you become more efficient in your use of time and energy.
Most of us wish we could be more productive as well as efficient with our time and energy. I don't know about you, but I love tips that can help me speed up slow, mundane processes both at home and work. Anything that can help me be more efficient, especially in my business, is welcome news.
As I speak of productivity and efficiency, I am thinking mostly of ways to improve your approach to your work. But it can also be used to improve efficiency around the house as well.
One example for me is that a few months ago, I had new carpet installed throughout the house. At about the same time, I saw a Roomba vacuum cleaner advertised on TV. Now, in case you aren't familiar with Roomba, it is the product name of certain robot vacuum cleaners.
I ordered one, thinking that having it would help keep the carpet cleaner. It would also save me effort as vacuuming is one of my least favorite household chores.
Well, I have to admit, I love, love, love my Roomba! I can start it up any time without any effort on my part from my phone. I run it almost every day both upstairs and downstairs.
It picks up all the dog hair and dander left by my two dogs every day, and it does so quietly and efficiently. They are both long-haired dogs, so they shed a LOT. The only effort I have to put into it is to clean out the bin after each use.
This appliance has contributed to keeping my house cleaner and healthier. I wasn't vacuuming every day with the upright model that I had to lug out of the closet and drag around the house. Now the house is getting vacuumed almost daily including under the bed, couch, and chairs that I could never reach with my upright model.
Small improvements in productivity and efficiency are the key to the kaizen concept.
To learn other ways to improve your productivity and efficiency using kaizen, take a look at some of the suggestions below:
Find the "Sticking Points"
The aim of finding "sticking points" is to remove wasted time and energy in your day-to-day activity. To do that, you need to start taking note of all the tasks that you complete on any given day. This should include everything from booting up the computer to arranging your files.
You should even assess how long each of the different activities takes. Consider how you might do it quicker.
Small changes in your routine can add up to minutes that add up to hours saved in your day.
For this to work, however, you need to be thorough in your analysis of the activities you do on a routine basis. Once you have analyzed the way you do a task, then you can consider how you might speed up the process.
Or you might eliminate an outdated process with a new, more efficient method.
Some Life Hacks and "Biohacks" that You Might Use
One concept that lends itself particularly well to kaizen is the idea of the "life hack" or the "bio hack." A small lifestyle or health change can potentially result in significant improvements in your life over time.
Some "bio hacks" you hear of are nonsense, of course. They promise life-changing results and deliver very little, if anything.
The same goes for lifehacks that look great on Instagram or Facebook but don't do much for you in real life.
The goal is to look for the strategies that do work. Then incorporate those changes into your lifestyle. When you feel better, you will perform better in every area.
Temperature May Be The Key To Good Sleep
Everyone knows that if you don't get the quantity and quality of sleep you need every night, your productivity suffers.
For years we have assumed that light had a lot to do with your ability to sleep well. But new studies show that temperature may have an even more significant impact on how well you sleep.
If you are too warm during the night, you won't sleep as well.
I am sure you have seen some of the commercials advertising mattresses that will keep you "cooler" at night. But in case you can't afford a new mattress right now, you might consider opening the window a bit at night. Lower the thermostat at night. Or set up a small, silent fan that might circulate the air and keep the room temperature cooler while you sleep.
How To Add Time to Your Day
If you want to achieve more with your life, then one of the best and most important things you can do is get up early every morning. Start getting up 30 minutes earlier each morning,
We need sleep, of course. So the aim here is not to sleep 30 minutes less. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier at night when you are tired. Get the amount of sleep you need.
But by waking up 30 minutes earlier in the morning, you are giving yourself a chance to be more productive.
Studies show that people who exercise first thing in the morning are more productive and eat healthier during the day. So you might use your 30 minutes in the morning for a workout.
If that doesn't inspire you, perhaps taking time to meditate and ground yourself will be a better way to start your day. Or you might want to use the time to journal and plan out your day and week so you can be more productive at work.
Do you ever find yourself lacking inspiration? Do you feel that you don't have the interest to focus on the thing you're meant to be doing, rather than the thing you "should" be doing?
Inspiration is a valuable and abstract commodity. Fortunately, you can get more of it in a few ways. One is to listen to audiobooks while you do chores or go for walks. This puts your brain in a more focused state. If the book is something you find interesting, then you will be more focused and creative as a result afterward.
The mistake we make is to waste valuable time watching junk on TV. Or we get caught checking out Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. This meaningless content puts us in a far less productive and useful state of mind. So carefully choose what it is you want to spend your valuable time.
Having said that, you might find some TED talks inspiring, so check those out on YouTube. Find authors who inspire you and read their work. We each find inspiration in different ways, so consider how you come to feel inspired, and go with that. But don't overlook the importance of staying inspired to live your best life. Inspiration is really a fundamental element of the best lives we can lead.
Until next time.