kaizen

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” -Charles Buxton-

Following the release of our first article “3 Simple Time Management Techniques”, we look now to The East – specifically, Japan and its philosophy of Kaizen. If you are not one of the 130 million people who speak Japanese worldwide, know that Kaizen is the Japanese word for “change for better”.

This productivity philosophy was born from the partnership between American and Japanese businessmen, after World War 2. This partnership was designed to increase the productivity of the preexisting work force by improving standardized programs and processes and eliminating waste. The flexibility of this philosophy allows it to be implemented by a multitude of different people, both in and out of business.

The Simple Methodology of Kaizen

Kaizens’ ambiguous definition means that this philosophy can be implemented to varying degrees and in a multitude of ways. There are specifically two types of Kaizen related to business practices, Flow Kaizen and Process Kaizen. “Flow” refers to the flow of materials and information and often leads to the reorganization of an entire production area or even a company.

“Process” refers to the improvement of the individual. While these two approaches may have differing applications, the processes under which they operate and the procedures involved are exactly the same.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Calibrate: Invent a method for a specific activity. This activity should be something you do daily.
  2. Investigate: Once said method has been implemented, use quantifiable data to examine its effectiveness.
  3. Equate: Compare the results that you acquired in your investigation, against the methods projected usefulness
  4. Revolutionize: If your method does not reach its projected usefulness, consider ways in which it could be modified to provide the desired results. Research alternate methods for completing the same task more efficiently.
  5. Calibrate: Refine your newly acquired method, so that it produces the required results.
  6. Duplicate: Return to step one and repeat.

Kaizen allows the user to keep track of their improvements and make adjustments accordingly. Due to the fact that this technique is considered a mental philosophy (unlike The Pomodoro technique) it requires no tools, apps or timers. Instead, Kaizen focuses upon changing your approach to work by modifying the underlying methods that you use, thus improving your efficiency. We recommend that, when you initially implement this philosophy, you keep track of any methods used, modifications to said methods and the achieved results. This will provide you with an over-all view of your work day, which will allow you to modify the areas that require improvement.

Unlike The Pomodoro technique, which requires that you set aside time to complete a task, Kaizen requires that you modify your approach to work, thus reducing the complications encountered. Like The Pomodoro technique, Kaizen is cyclical in nature, which leads to constant improvement. Moreover, the flexibility of these techniques allows them to become combined in order to suit your own personal routine, as we will discuss in a future article.

Until then, we at The Chat Center would like to wish you a happy and productive day!

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