How to Stop Being Lazy and Boost Your Small Business with Kaizen

As a small business owner, you'll no doubt find yourself setting new goals and challenges on a regular basis. But just as often, you fail to achieve those goals or neglect to meet the challenges. You end up telling yourself that you're not ready yet and that you'll do it tomorrow. Or next week. Perhaps next year?

But why give up so quickly?

The answer is really quite obvious; you invariably try to achieve too much, too fast. Before long you grow sick and tired of the added commitment, and besides, changing old habits to try something different is always going to be difficult. That's just the way human beings are wired. As a result, you become frustrated very quickly.


So, how can we stop procrastinating?

Kaizen is an easy but efficient method to combat laziness and achieve your goals. It takes just a minute a day, and the results can be quite impressive.


The 1-minute practice of kaizen

Originally from Japan, Kaizen is a technique that can work for anyone and at any stage of their life. Its use is widespread in the world of Japanese industry and commerce as a tool to improve management techniques. The word itself contains two roots:





It means that you shouldn't change your life rapidly. Take it slow and be wise about it. Your new habits should come from your inner reflections and your life experiences. Invented by Masaaki Imai, the Japanese organisational theorist and management consultant, kaizen can be just as useful in the business world as it can in our personal lives.


How does kaizen work?

In Japan, kaizen includes the concept of the one-minute philosophy of self-improvement. At the core of this method is the idea that every day, and at the same time of day, you should put aside one single minute to practice some form of self-improvement activity. Sounds easy, right?

Well, that's the whole idea. Kaizen is supposed to be easy. Even when we're feeling particularly lazy, we should still be able to carry out a task for such amount of time. Whereas we might usually find an excuse to avoid doing a task that takes thirty minutes or an hour a day, surely we can do something for sixty seconds without any misgivings?


Why does kaizen work?

At first glance, this method might appear doubtful to people who have grown up in a Western culture, and who have grown up being told that the only way to achieve their goals is to apply enormous effort. This isn't necessarily true, however. Entering into complicated and challenging programs of self-improvement that drain you of vast amounts of energy, and steal huge chunks of your time, will very often end up overly-fatiguing you without showing actual results.


Whether it's doing belly crunches or learning a new language, with the kaizen method you won't feel like the task is frustrating or unpleasant, and that you're doing something that you have to get through. Instead, it will become an activity that brings you joy and satisfaction.


One little step at a time

Kaizen's one-minute principle lets you see the progress you're making, which is a critical part of forming new habits. It will help you overcome any lack of confidence you may have in your abilities, as well as free you from any doubts you might have about becoming a 'better person.'


Let the magic happen

Kaizen enables you to experience that sense of victory and success that we all need to keep moving towards our goals. And the moment those feelings begin to inspire you is the moment when you can gradually start to increase the amount of time you spend on the goal that you have set for yourself. One minute will become five, and this will soon turn into half an hour, an hour, and perhaps even longer. All you have to do is decide what it is you want to achieve, and start doing it for one minute every single day.


Kaizen in the office

The kaizen method of making small changes to your lifestyle can help you in the workplace too. Perhaps you could start by taking a minute to get up from your workstation to do some stretching exercises. Maybe you could learn meditation or yoga techniques you can do without leaving the office. You could get into the habit of dragging your eyes from the computer screen to gaze through a window for sixty seconds. Or you could spend that extra minute cleaning the surface of your desk before you break for lunch or knock off for the day.


The kaizen technique is often defined as 'continuous improvement.' It is all about making small changes without worrying about the past or future. You should focus on what's going on right now, and your willingness to make things better in your life. For yourself and for your environment. And don't throw in the towel because something doesn't seem to be working.


Anything that is good can always be better

For kaizen to really work, it will help if you truly believe that everything and anything can change. There are people, and entire businesses, who believe that everything is fine on the surface. As long as there is no drama, there is no problem. However, you need to adopt the attitude that there are always ways to improve things. Don't settle for mediocrity but don't change something just for the sake of changing it either. Sometimes, a change for no reason can be a step back instead of an improvement. That is a fine line that only you can assess.


Finally, remember that improvement doesn't stop as soon as you've reached your goal. If you think that then you're right back where you started. Kaizen teaches you that there is always room to learn more. About life, and about yourself.



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