The Gentle Practice of Kaizen

Last week we looked at the pomodoro technique. If you missed it, you can read it here.

As I write this, the sun has set. I have biscuits sitting on my desk, and there's the gentle patter of summer rain against the window.

It's a perfect setting to delve into the world of the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen.

The Heart of Kaizen – Continuous Improvement

In Japanese, Kaizen means "change for the better". But it's more than just a dictionary term. It's a philosophy built around daily practice of continuous, incremental improvement.

Small steps. Tiny changes. But over time, like a gentle wave reshaping a coastline, these changes can lead to a transformation.

Kaizen in Business

Entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, team leaders… our lives can be chaotic.

We juggle many tasks across different projects. Kaizen could help bring some order to this chaos.

Process Optimisation

Kaizen encourages you to find and cut waste in your processes.

Small tweaks clearing your workspace or streamlining your email process can save time that adds up over weeks or years.

This is something I've focused on a lot recently. I took my chaotic consulting call flow and streamlined it. From booking to the post-call experience.


In Kaizen, we welcome and encourage everyone's ideas, no matter how small."

One of the cornerstones of the Kaizen philosophy in a business context is that everyone in the company is involved in improving things.

As a solopreneur, this could be listening to all the people you talk to on Twitter.

Kaizen for Personal Life

The beauty of Kaizen lies in its flexibility. It doesn't just apply to factories or corporate settings. We can use it to make our personal lives better too.

Habit Formation

We're half way through the year now. Remember that New Year's resolution you set to workout every week?

With Kaizen, instead of aiming high and doing an hour a day, you start with five minutes of exercise each day.

Then you can slowly increase that amount until you're in the best shape you've ever been 🏋️‍♂️


In business, you need to be present and aware to be able to find areas of inefficiency. Then you can do the necessary small changes to improve it.

In a personal setting, implementing Kaizen fosters a 'here and now' approach. It lets us appreciate the present moment and work towards improving our lives.

Resources to Dive Deeper

Want to dig deeper into the idea of Kaizen? Here are a couple of resources that I found useful.

"One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way" by Robert Maurer. I've gone through the Blinkist it sounds like a great book to get started. It covers concepts such as mind sculptures, small steps, and small rewards.

For visual learners, here's a great video that gives you an overview of the philosophy and idea: The Kaizen Way

In summary, Kaizen is really the act of asking: "What extremely small step can I take to improve the process or product?"

Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Until next time, keep productive.

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