3 Ways to Apply Kaizen in Your Personal Life

JT - Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. Vincent Van Gogh

The past few weeks I have been reflecting on the past year, discovering where I am in each area of my life, deciding where my focus is going to go in the New Year. There are a few areas of my life where I am really content, however there are a number of others that I am ready to change and maybe even apply Kaizen.

Subsequently, in this post I wanted to share with you –

  • What is Kaizen?
  • The Ground Rules fo Praciticing Kaizen,
  • 3 Ways to Apply Kaizen in to Your Personal Life Now.

Let’s get started!

What is Kaizen?

Some of the definitions of Kaizen include –

  • “a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency, etc.” ~ Google and Oxford Dictionaries
  • “Kaizen is the Japanese word for improvement” and “Simply means change for the better” ~ Wikipedia
  • “Kai = change, zen = good. Kaizen – change for the good” ~ Kanbanchi.com
  • “a Japanese set of ideas about business that encourages people to continue to improve their personal and professional life” ~ MacMillan Dictionary
  • “Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement. Kaizen was originally introduced to the West by Masaaki ImaiKaizen Institute.

And here is a clip explaining the definition of Kaizen. In the clip, Masaaki Imai shares how he has a new definition of Kaizen: Kaizen = Everyday Improvement + Everybody Improvement + Everywhere Improvement.

Ground Rules for Practicing Kaizen

In the book Gemba Kaizen, the author, Masaaki Imai, refers to the following 3 ground rules for practicing Kaizen –

  • Housekeeping – acquiring and practicing self-discipline,
  • Muda elimination – Muda in Japanese meaning waste (i.e. does it add value or not add value?); and
  • Standardisation – the best way (i.e. processes) to do the job whilst maintaining quality and standards.

Even though the Kaizen Philosophy was developed for business, it relates to our personal lives as well. Therefore, from here on, I am going to refer to and apply Kaizen to the context of our personal life.

3 Ways to Apply Kaizen in to Your Personal Life Now

As indicated above, Kaizen is about “making good” change and continually improving performance and personal effectiveness. Following are 3 ways that can help you apply Kaizen to your personal life now –

  1. Develop Standards for Your Life – what standards do you have within your life? Are there any areas of your life where you could implement standards, systems or processes to increase the quality of your life?
  2. Start to Build Self-Discipline – before you start building self-discipline, identify what it means for you and then start taking small steps each day towards that definition. If you need some guidance, click here.
  3. Develop Good Housekeeping with 5S – could you be using your resources (i.e. time and money) better? Are there any situations, groups or people that drain your energy? If so, you may like to use the five S (5S) of good housekeeping. Even though the 5S process is about good workplace organisation, I use it in my work and life. A brief outline of it follows –

Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to Kaizen and ways to apply it in your personal life.

If you are ready to take yourself on the adventure of getting to know yourself (your true self), why not join the Toolkit? A place where I share tools, inspiration and ideas to live a courageous and openhearted life.

Reference –

Imai, M. (2012). Gemba Kaizen – A Commonsense Approach to a Continuous Improvement Strategy. New York, USA: McGraw Hill Education.

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