Everyone of us only has 24 hours a day, although we wish to have 36 hours to complete everything we want to do, how then can we be more productive? The answer is Kaizen.
Productivity is about getting things done efficiently. The best way to improve productivity is to practice Kaizen (“continuous improvement” in Japanese). It means doing things one small step at a time. You can then continuously improve a process which increase productivity.
1. Break Your Goal into Smaller, Bite-sized Tasks
Break your goal (big or small) into smaller and manageable tasks as they are easier to plan and allocate time for. You will then feel a sense of fulfillment for achieving them. Remember to celebrate the little victories along the way.
Putting Things into Perspective and Practice
Let’s put things in perspective. Take for example, you want to start a simple blog but have no technical know how (like me, I started everything from ground zero). You can start creating a To Do List to breakdown your goal into simpler, bite-sized tasks:
- Research on a topic and decide a niche for your blog
- Choose a domain name and register it (e.g. NameCheap, GoDaddy)
- Find a web hosting company (e.g. BlueHost, Hostgator, FatCow)
- Install WordPress
- Choose an unique theme (e.g. Studio Press, Elegant Themes, Woo Themes)
- Write your first few posts
- Promote your blog
2. Eliminate Waste
Declutter. Review and think through your processes to eliminate waste (another principle of Kaizen) which will boost productivity. For example, you can re-examine the 7 steps above in starting a blog and look for waste to eliminate or improve existing processes. You can actually register for a domain name and get web hosting from the same company thus saving you time and money (eliminate waste).
3. Continuous Improvement
Through continuous improvement, you can refine the processes. Using the same example of starting a blog, you can install plugins to customise and optimise your blog, making it more visually appealing and exciting, but don’t overdo it.
In other words, Kaizen will improve productivity as it is simple to plan, do and follow through.
4. Exercise Control Over Your Life
Control and manage the details of our life so that life can be less stressful than it already is. We need to control the information that inundates us everyday from the news, social media, internet and emails, otherwise it will control us and cause burn out.
We can adopt a proactive approach to set aside protected time to do the important things first and check off our To Do List and be more productive, instead of being reactive and keep checking our messages and Facebook every few minutes. Prioritize your time well.
5. Use Technology to Increase Productivity
We can use technology to our advantage to take care of the little details in life to help us plan better and see the big picture. This is when Google Calendar, online planners and creative apps will come in useful. For example, by checking the bus arrival time using the SG Buses app, we can plan whether to be at the bus stop now or run to the store to buy a drink, ensuring we won’t miss the next bus. Technology is supposed to make our life easier, we should learn to use them but not let them control us.
Ever since I started writing this blog, I have been rather sleep deprived as there is always something new to learn and improve on each day. I reduced my lunch time just so I can take a short power nap or a siesta and the results? I have been able to concentrate at work and still have the clarity of mind to work on my blog at night. Winston Churchill first coined the term “power nap”, claiming that a daily dose of afternoon nap brought him the presence of mind he needed for wartime victory. Read the article on 8 famous men who love napping here.
I love to hear from you, please feel free to send me your comments below. 🙂