Are you feeling overwhelmed and out of control? Not really a surprise for many, considering the demands on our lives in this digital age. We are spending more time at work than any other generation in American history. As a workforce, Americans lose more paid leave from work each year than any other country. Our workdays get longer and they don’t end when we leave the workplace. Our smartphones keep us tethered to the office, and we can never really disconnect until late into the evening. Then, we have to try and balance our professional demands with our personal lives. Spouses, children and extended family demand our time as well, but seem to be getting the short end of the stick for most American workers.
So the question becomes, how do I find balance when the demands on our time continue to escalate? There are a wide range of options available for the busy professional who needs to find balance in his or her life. Browse the internet for five minutes and you will find a long list of self-help experts and gurus who claim that they can make things all better and find the balance you are seeking. But, how do you find the right help, and can you fit the cost into your budget? Things just get more and more complicated, don’t they? Well, a simple answer may be just simple techniques that are practiced in many organizations around the globe and they get results. Just take a look at the Kaizen philosophy and really understand how that applies to your personal life, just like the processes on the factory floor. Kaizen may be just the solution you are looking for!
Kaizen took hold in the years after WWII with the Japanese and the Toyota Production System (TPS). It is based on the belief that continuous, incremental improvement adds up to substantial change over time. When teams or groups implement Kaizen, they circumvent the upheaval, unrest, and mistakes that often go hand-in-hand with major innovation. It’s fitting that the Japanese word kaizen translates to “good change.” You can take those techniques and apply them directly to your personal life and affect real change. The core principle of Kaizen is waste reduction, so take stock in what you are doing and make some changes. Look at what you need to stop doing that is not productive or unnecessary and make some changes. Look at the time-wasters that sneak into our daily activities and carve them out. Prioritize your tasks and find simpler, easier ways of getting things done. An audit of your daily calendar will truly be an eye-opener for most people.
Daily consistent improvement is the key to success. Think small in the beginning. Those little changes will, at first, free up 15-20 minutes a day. As you make improvements, those changes get a little bigger. Now, you are not having to work through lunch, or you have actually made the time to catch a kid’s soccer game or make it home on time for date night, without missing any key objectives. They real key to success is to constantly look at ways to improve, become more efficient at tasks or build better habits. Just be patient and you will find success in the process and a much need balance between your personal and professional life.
Read more here about Kaizen. It just isn’t for the factory floor anymore!