Small Steps philosophy as a way of life

The first time I read Gemba Kaizen by Masaaki Imai, I was a junior manager responsible for several production lines.  The concept of improving processes by taking small steps at a time capture my attention.  It was the beginning of a never-ending learning process in continuous improvement.  I believe in this philosophy; it drives the way I work and make decisions.  I don’t remember when I started, but one day I realize that kaizen or the art of improving by taking small steps was my way of life.  I was learning and improving how I do things all the time.

Small steps as way of life 

After that realization, I started to consciously apply the basic concepts of some tools in my house.  For example, I started to use 5S to ensure I kept everything in my kitchen, closets, and garage organized.  My father learned that if he put things in their place, he wasted no time when he needed them again.  I also use kanban for my groceries to ensure that I don’t run out of my favorite items or over-stock the less used items.  Visual management becomes a staple in my calendars, inbox, and agendas.  

Over the years, I roll out my home CI initiatives to improve home tasks, from cooking to gardening.  I used PDCA to cut time, distance, and other types of waste.  The strategy I follow is to change things in small steps.  I create small steps by breaking a task into smaller pieces.  I do a plan for each assignment, test it, learn the result, and adjust.  

When I started gardening, I had no clue what I was doing.  In the beginning, I bought grown plants at local stores.  After work, I used to relax while taking care of them.  That was fun, but I wanted more. Therefore, I start reading and learning what types of vegetables grow in my area. The first year I took note of everything I did.  At the end of the season, I noted what worked and what didn’t.  I kept doing that every year, learning more and taking small risks at a time.  My gardening skills are much better now, and the number of vegetables harvested each season is growing.

Small steps to create or break a habit, or develop a skill

CI is useful for creating a habit, break a habit, or develop new skills.  The formation of a new habit has three steps, a trigger, the routine, and the reward.  Make sure that the new routine is a small step.  I know it works but, I could not explain why until I read the book One Small Step Can Change Your Life:  The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer.

In his book, he explains how to overcome fear and procrastination with seven small steps.  He also talks about how the reptilian brain governs the fight-or-flight response that keeps us alive in the face of danger.  When something triggers fear, this response kicks in to sabotage your intentions.  The trick to achieving change is to think of small steps.  Maurer recommends asking your brain what one small step you could take toward reaching your goal.  Small questions or small steps keep the fight-or-flight response in off position.

Fear paralyze us, use small steps to keep going

Fear or uncomfortable feelings keep us from doing things that we don’t like.  When you faced a situation you don’t like, the flight mode kicks in.  As a result, you ignore the event until you can’t anymore.  By then, it is a hot mess, only because you did not deal with it before.  It is better to listen to the warning signs and gut feelings that tell you that something is wrong. Once you recognized the warning, deal with a small problem and not a big one.    

A different way to see and do things

The secret to your success is to take small steps.  Sounds funny, even silly, but it works.  Before we learn to run, we learn to crawl, take one step while holding onto something, and then walk without help.  Breaking a task into smaller pieces makes sense.  It allows you to grasp the situation and deal with it with greater chances of success.  Many small wins add up to a big win.  Do not let fear paralyze you.  Keep going, one small step at a time.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Mark Twain

Continuous improvement books for beginners

continuous improvement books

I learned that February is the library lovers’ month.  Many of us don’t visit libraries anymore, but still, keep our love for books.  In my case, I have a weak spot for continuous improvement books.  Books are an excellent way to learn, find inspiration, or have a good time.  My CI learning experience includes traditional classroom training, webinars, hands-on workshops, and others.  But my favorite way to learn more about CI is by reading books.  Perhaps, it is because I can go at my pace, reading, learning, and practicing.

Continuous improvement books

There are thousands of books about CI out there.  Although there are real gems, there are also some that are not very good.  As a result, finding the right one can be difficult.  Some publications are best suited for beginners, while others are for people with some experience.  

Here is a list of my favorite CI titles

  1. Gemba Kaizen by Masaaki Imai – This book is an introduction to kaizen and gemba.  Although the book contains all the traditional lean jargon, it is easy to read. In addition, includes various case studies including hospitals, product development, ground transportation, and logistics.  
  2. Lean Production Simplified by Pascal Dennis – The title says it all, it contains a simplified explanation of the lean system.  The book includes a description of various concepts like five S, visual management, standardize work, and others.
  3. The lean turnaround by Art Byrne – If you are an executive looking to start a culture transformation, this is the one for you.  It focuses on lean as a strategy to create value and transform the company.
  4. Lean Office and Service Simplified by Drew Locher – If you work in an office or service environment, look no further.  The author presents all lean principles and concepts from a non-manufacturing perspective.  He describes how to use tools like value-stream, standard work, flow, visual management, and others.  In addition, it provides several examples and implementation strategies.
  5. The Toyota Way to Service Excellence by Jeffrey K. Liker and Karyn Ross –   The authors explain how to use the lean principles, practices, and tools to provide better services.  Moreover, it contains case studies in various service industries.  The examples include financial services, telecommunications, health care, and insurance.
  6. People: A leader’s day-to-day guide to building, managing, and sustaining lean organizations by Robert Martichenko, Steve Gran, Roger Pearce, & 4 more – This book is a leaders’ guide to build and sustain a lean organization.  It provides guidance for all the tasks, activities, and behaviors a leader needs to transform the organization and get long-term success.  
  7. Lean Thinking by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones – This publication is a best seller classic.   It goes from the principles to lean thinking to action, presenting how to close the gap between customers and providers.  It also has case studies to explain those concepts.  One of them is Wiremold Company with Art Byrne as its president and CEO.  Yes, you are right, he is the author of the #3 on my list.

You read continuous improvement books, and then what?

The short answer to that question is that you learn, explore, and practice lean.  Learn new ways to do things.  Second, you explore how to apply those ways within your business.  Third, you keep learning by teaching others how to do it.  And third, you keep learning and practicing.  

The secret to a continuous improvement culture transformation is that lean, or CI, is a system, not a group of tools.  The focus should be on the people and the learning process.  One common mistake is to spend too much time learning and using tools.  Instead, focus on working with the people.  The real success is, being able to engage your team in CI.  That is to say, do not waste your time reading books unless you are committed to learn and teach.  

What else you can do?

To increase your learning opportunities, combine reading books with hands-on workshops and training.  For even better results, get a serious professional to help you along the journey.  We all need a coach or mentor to guide us through the challenging steps of transforming a culture.  Here in Better Process Solutions, we are ready to help.  Get in touch!

Lean thinking, what is it?

Lean thinking

I mentioned the phrase, lean thinking pretty often.  As I indicated before, the term was coined by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones.  It is used to describe the process of making business decisions based on Lean Principles.  

What are the principles of lean?

  1. Customer Value 
  2. Identify all the steps in the value stream and eliminate waste.
  3. Make the value-add steps flow.
  4. Let customers pull value from the next upstream activity.
  5. Continuous Improvement 

The foundation of lean thinking

This list of principles is the foundation of the Lean system.  It is a collection of thoughts, behaviors, or propositions that guide what we had known as Lean Thinking.  

All effort directed to improve a process starts with identifying value from the customer lenses.  The continuous improvement goal is to deliver the Customer the highest product or service quality, at the lowest possible cost, in the shortest lead time.  Consequently, the focus of all our decisions is quality, cost, delivery, and people.  In other words, the focus is on those things that the customer value.

Process Improvement and the customer

If the focus is on customer value, then it is logical that the next step is to identify the value stream. That is to say, to identify all the steps from request to delivery and eliminate waste.  Waste is defined as those steps that do not add value.

The third principle is to make the value-add steps flow.  Eliminating delays, waiting time, and other sources of waste, the flow improves.  Therefore, the total process time would be shorter. Once this happens, let them pull value from the next upstream step.  That is to say, that your clients will indicate when they need more inventory.  Continuous improvement is the repetition of the first four principles.  Once you improve one process, standardize, train, and start improving again.

Lean thinking vs. traditional thinking

It is necessary to put aside old behaviors and ways to change the culture by embracing continuous improvement thinking.  To make decisions based on customer value and flow is not what you learned in business school.  Give your team the power to change things is not common either.

The table below presents various examples of each thinking type, side by side.  You will recognize some principles and behaviors that I mentioned in previous posts.  For example, to empower the team to improve their workplace versus bringing external resources.

Lean thinking vs traditional thinking

It takes time to get used to this type of thinking.  However, practice lean thinking every day, everywhere, by everybody is worth it.  Above all, your customers will notice the difference, and your business bottom-line will be better.

Would you like instant results in your improvement efforts?

Instant results for your continuous improvement efforts

These days people look for instant results. They want something, and they want it now! Some people have the same expectation for continuous improvement (CI).  Although they never say it out loud, they believe that CI will get them instant results.

Continuous improvement is a way of life.  It is a different way to think and do things.  Therefore, it comprises challenging prevailing ideas and learning new ones.  Reshaping your entire belief system for process improvement and problem-solving is not an easy task.  As a result, it cannot be quick or instant.

Instant Results and Continuous Improvement

I visualize continuous improvement as a marathon.  Through the CI system, you are looking to change people’s minds and hearts.  Lean or CI cannot be considered a tool or a short-term strategy to accomplish some goals.  It is a long-term commitment to which leadership focuses on developing people and create a team of problem-solvers.

Two heads are better than one

Two heads are better than one.  That is to say that it is easier for two people who help each other to solve a problem than it is for one person.  In a traditional setting, the manager and supervisors are fire-fighting all the time.  They take care of putting off a fire and run to the next one without learning about why it happened or how to fix it for good.  

Learning proper problem-solving and root cause analysis techniques is the best way to get out of that vicious cycle.  Better yet, grasp the new methods and teach your team how to do it.  Create a team of problem-solvers by empowering your people. Allow them to solve their daily problems while you coach and guide them. Let them be the source for most ideas and take ownership of the improvement process.

Permanent results, not instant ones, is what changes the culture

Continuous improvement is not a sprint race but a never-ending race. Change the mindset and culture takes time. Learning how to test new ideas and reflect on the results takes time as well.  Continuous improvement or kaizen is the daily practice of creating small changes.  It is possible to get big results with small changes. The time invested in using the scientific method to learn and reflect on the results guarantees a thoughtful process.  This thought process makes those results likely to be permanent, but it takes time and patience. 

In the time and age of clicking a button for instant purchases, a culture change is perceived as a big undertaking.  Well, it is a big undertaking.  There is no way to make this instant or fast while keeping the permanent aspect.  Create new habits and change our thinking process is slow rather than fast.  However, the practice of CI, everywhere, by everybody, every day will keep the momentum going and the changes sustainable.

Innovation and continuous improvement

Some people think that continuous improvement or lean conflicts with innovation.  In other words, that lean kills innovation.  However, that is not true both go hand in hand.  Let’s see how.

The power of innovation within continuous improvement

One critic about continuous improvement that I heard often is that the structure does not allow creativity.  CI indeed organizes the thinking process and has some core elements that are not negotiable.  On the other hand, it promotes skills development as a way to show respect.  And it is there where the innovation power of lean or continuous improvement resides.

How it works

To be able to empower your team, you need to develop the skills they need.  Hand-on training to learn the tools is not enough to succeed.  Self-discipline to behave and think the continuous improvement way is critical.  The structure provided by tools like PDCA and 5S helps to build that discipline.   

For example, the traditional way to solve problems is by using past experiences to guess the best solution.  But with PDCA, you have to define the problem by going where the problem happens to see for yourself, ask questions, and gather data.  It also uses promotes a team approach.  Various minds working together enriches both the problem definition and countermeasures identification.  

The most important lesson of PDCA occurs at the end of the process.  During the last step, act or adapt, you verify if the actions taken solved the problem.  It also encourages you to reflect upon the results, what work, and what didn’t.  The discussion of the lessons learned opens the gates of innovation by opening minds to endless opportunities.

Reflection

Reflection generates learning by making us look at our actions and their consequences.  Doing this requires looking at assumptions and reactions while examining the lessons learned.   The act of reflecting upon our actions also help to develop creative thinking skills.  

Once your mind starts to question how things work or how you can do it better, you will keep looking for answers.  Curiosity is the source of invention.  Being curious about things keeps your mind sharp on what happens or not.  Being curious opens your eyes to new ideas.

Engagement and innovation 

Boredom is a leading indicator of engagement.  Doing the same thing every day is boring.  And boredom kills engagement and consequently innovation.  They have time to think about how much they don’t like their work and start looking for a new one.  On the other hand, if they feel that their skills are valued and can visualize themselves growing with the company, their engagement increases.

One tenet of continuous improvement is to respect the people.  One way to show respect is to provide the environment and opportunities to learn new skills.  Being able to contribute to the company’s future in a meaningful way is a great motivator.  It will not only improve their work performance but also their attitude towards life.  A team member that finishes the workday feeling good about it will arrive home with much better humor.  Therefore, family time will be as rewarding and positive as it should be.

A mind free of work concerns and frustration is a mind ready to create and innovate!

Conclusion

CI does not restrict thinking.  On the contrary, it provides a way to standardize routine tasks, allowing time and energy to use their talents and creativity.  When they have the power to change and improve their workplace, they will engage in finding ways to improve.  With self-discipline, they will pursue daily small improvement steps.  With each step, their curiosity will grow.  And with it, the appetite for asking why and getting answers with data will grow as well.  As a result, they will have breakthrough ideas, new concepts, and ways to do things.  Curiosity is the source of invention. It is not a matter of whether innovation will happen, but when.

Self-Reflection and continuous improvement

One of the biggest differences between continuous improvement or lean and other business models or systems is that it recognizes the need for reflection.  Toyota recognizes that even if a task is completed successfully, there is a need to reflect on the results.  It is a structured way to look at the results with the purpose of learning from the experience.

Daily Self-reflection

It takes time to get used to the idea of reflecting on our actions as part of our daily work.  That is why reflection is part of the leaders’ standard work.  It is challenging to do it because nobody wants to think about what went wrong or failures.  The objective of this exercise is not to criticize the person or team, is to learn from mistakes to avoid future repetition.  Through reflection, you can create better plans for the future. 

Continuous improvement is about learning, experimenting, and using the lessons learned to change and adapt.  We will find a million reasons not to take the time to reflect, but self-reflection or team reflection is the vehicle that will drive us full circle in our learning journey.  It is not until we take the time to ask what went well and what didn’t that we learn through our honest answers.  While learning from what we did well is good, learning from our mistakes is better.  The answer to what you would do differently next time is where you will learn the most.  

Continuous Improvement through Reflection

Reflection is one of the elements of the Kaizen spirit.  The act or adapt step of the PDCA cycle is a reflection of what we intended to do.  Did we accomplish the goal?  Why not?  How can we fix the problem?  By getting into the habit of answering these questions, you keep yourself grounded to lean thinking.

Reflection is an important part of a learning organization.  Learning from mistakes is what helps us to prevent repeating them, and the process of recognizing that even if something is good, can be better is what keeps the continuous improvement process alive and kicking!

Trust, how do you build it in the workplace?

To build trust in the workplace is critical to keep your promises.
Gaining someone’s trust is not easy, do not do anything that risks losing it.

In my last post, I was talking about empowerment.  I indicated that if you empower your employees, you need to trust them. But trust is a two-way street, you trust your employees, and they must trust you back.  How do you build that trust?

5 ways to build trust in the workplace

1.  Be honest and with integrity no matter the circumstances

There is no doubt that it is hard, to be honest, and act with integrity all the time.  Regardless of how hard or inconvenient it might be, it is critical for being a trustworthy person.  Consequently, admit when you don’t know and take responsibility for your failures.  

Be transparent, accept if you are wrong, and be open about your emotions.  For example, concede that you are angry about the outcome and ask for time for reflection before talking about the matter.  Showing vulnerability is not showing weakness but rather that you are human too.  

Also, always communicate your reasons to do something and list your expectations.  Do not hide information, be transparent instead.  

2.  Show respect and listen to what others have to say

The most basic form of respect is to listen.  Let people talk, focus on the person, and listen with the intention of understanding.  Ask for clarification to fully understand ideas, concerns, or feelings.  Then, respond with empathy and give feedback respectfully.  Show your team that you genuinely care about them. 

Another way to show respect is to be mindful of your demeanor.  Be aware of your reactions.  For example, don’t laugh or make fun of peoples’ comments.  Likewise, do not dismiss their ideas.  Your job is to coach and teach them.  Remember that not everybody learns or analyze things at the same pace or the same way.  Getting to know the person behind each employee, that is the best way to be able to help them.

3.  Think before you act

It takes time to build trust.  Therefore, the last thing you want to happen is to do something that breaks that trust.  Take time to think about how you are going to answer, make decisions carefully.  However, do not take too much time.  

Be consistent with your actions, treat everybody the same way, and act with integrity at all times. While making decisions, think about your values.  How do they align with your values?  Always, especially during hard times, respond as per your values.  

4.  Keep your promises

Once you tell someone that you will do something for them, do what you say you would.  Honor your commitments and don’t make promises you can’t keep.  If you meant to do something, do it.  If the outcome of your actions is not what the person is expecting to hear, say it anyway.  Be honest about the reasons and offer an alternative solution.

5.  Support your employees

Have their back at all times, never let anybody to bully or disrespect any person.  Your team needs to know that you are there for them always.  Create a trusted environment where they feel good about sharing their ideas and concerns.  As indicated before, a safe setting where they learn and test their opinion without fear of losing their jobs.  Provide feedback and guidance without judging but showing compassion and empathy.

Key Points to build confidence

Give trust to get trust, be the adult in the room, and extent the olive branch first.  Gaining the confidence of someone is not an easy task.  Therefore, take small steps by inviting the person to participate in a continuous improvement event, brainstorming session, or project with you.   

Model those behaviors that you want to promote by respecting everybody, keeping your word, and being transparent.  Participate with your team in the continuous improvement and problem-solving processes without trying to micro-manage.  Instead of controlling the situation, coach, and give constructive feedback.

Empowerment, what it is and how you do it?

Empower your employees to take over the improvement of their work.
Empowered employees take over problem-solving and process improvement of their workplace.

Empowerment through coaching and skills development is a powerful way to show respect to your team.  When leadership walks away from command-and-control management, they start to empower their team to take control of their work.  As servant leaders, supervisors and managers listen more, ask questions to understand, and take away barriers.  

What is empowerment?

Merriam-Webster defined empowerment as the act or action of empowering someone or something, the granting of the power, right, or authority to perform various acts or duties.  In business, it means to share information and some level of power with the employees to make decisions.  Likewise, it delegates some tasks like problem-solving and improvements at the workspace level.  As a result, it also comes with more responsibility and accountability.

At Barry-Wehmiller, they refer to empowerment as responsible freedom.  Bob Chapman talked about it in his post, “Trust: Better to give than receive“.  He indicated that responsible freedom summarizes two ideas, freedom and responsibility.  Freedom is the opportunity to exercise personal choice, to have ownership of the work that you do and the decisions you make.  Responsibility is to ensure to be careful and exercise concern for other people and the requirements of the organization while making decisions.

Empowerment Requirements

But give power or authorization does no good if leadership doesn’t fulfill some requirements first. Employee empowerment requires the following.

  • Trust they will do their best
  • Training in the skills necessary to carry out the new tasks
  • Coach them how to use the new skills and model the behaviors associated with them
  • Provide all required information or grant access to it
  • Encourage testing new ideas and assist with guidance and resources

How do you entitle your team with more power and control?

Empowerment means people have power and control over their daily work.  With this new power and control, they gain knowledge and trust in their capabilities.  Similarly, they feel more engaged with their work and happier when they come back home. 

As leaders, we need to watch out for our team’s needs.  Not everybody learns at the same pace or the same way.  The support they need on this new endeavor is not the same either.  Some people need more help than others. 

If you empower them, you need to trust and support them.  Respect your team by providing adequate support.  Visit the workplace often, talk with your employees and listen to their concerns.  Ask how you can help and do what you said you would do.  Equally important is to provide support.  No idea is a bad idea.  Respectfully ask questions to guide them.  Challenge the situation or the method, never the person.  Create a safe environment where the team is not afraid of sharing their ideas, try them, or fail.  After all, in continuous improvement, you win, or you learn!

Getting organized at home

clutter

According to the site Days of the Year, January is the month to get organized.  Workplace organization is a recurrent subject for us in Better Process Solutions.  However, today I will focus on home organization. 

Home is where we go at the end of the day to wind down and recharge our batteries.  But we cannot accomplish that if the house is cluttered.  For instance, clutter is a significant source of stress in our lives.  

Why clutter affect us?  

Sherrie Bourg Carter wrote about why clutter causes stress in the Psychology Today blog.  In her article, she indicated that clutter blasts our minds with excessive stimuli.  As a result, our senses work overtime on stimuli that are not necessary or important.  She also mentioned that clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be.  Besides, it constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.

As a result, our brain is switching focus from the task we intend to do to the clutter around us.  Every time we look at the mess, we start to have negative feelings.  For example, you can experience guilt or embarrassment.  Clutter causes anxiety and makes it more difficult to relax.

Benefits of getting organized at home

  • Reduced stress and anxiety levels.  
  • More time and space around the house.
  • Save money, because you will not buy things to replace what you cannot find or will not pay your bills late.
  • Be able to relax, focus on what is important, and be more creative.

How to get organized at home

One of my favorites continuous improvement tools is 5S.  5S is a five steps method for housekeeping and organization.  You can read how to organize your kitchen, closets, and garage in previous posts.  

Practicing 5S at home can be a fun way of getting organized.  When done in the workplace, 5S is a team activity.  The people that work in the area participate in the process and contribute with ideas.  You can do the same thing at home, with your spouse and kids.  

Summary

Clutter hinders creativity and productivity.  It increases your levels of stress and anxiety.  Not only that, looking at the mess around you will cortisol.  Elevated levels of cortisol cause depression.  Thus, practicing organization is a way to keep your mental health in check.

In addition, can help to control your weight.  While researching for this post, I came across the book Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight.  The author, Peter Walsh, build upon a study that showed that people with cluttered homes were 77% more likely to be overweight or obese.  He thinks the reason is that people can’t make their best choices in a cluttered, messy, disorganized home.

In conclusion, getting organized will help you and your family to be healthier, have more creativity and productivity, and enjoy each other.

Reference

Bourg-Carter, S. (2012, March). Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons, 8 Remedies.  [Blog post] Accessed 1/6/2021.  Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/high-octane-women/201203/why-mess-causes-stress-8-reasons-8-remedies

5 Tips to improve your time management

Use a calendar or agenda to make your tasks visible and improve your time management.

In my last blog, I discuss 5 symptoms of poor time management skills.  This time, I want to share 5 tips to improve your time management. This is a critical skill for entrepreneurs and managers.  

Tips to improve your time management

Set SMART Goals, Prioritize, and Focus

One important task for every manager or entrepreneur is to set business goals, or at least participate in the process of setting them.  Likewise, it is a good practice to set personal goals.  Both types need to be SMART, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.  Strategies fail because they are either not clear, objectives are unrealistic, or the communication is poor.  To avoid failure, it is key to follow a good strategy deployment and goal setting method.  Having clear goals helps prioritize and makes it easier to stay focused on what is important.  

Schedule your tasks

Break each goal into smaller pieces and schedule them through the year depending on priority.  Create and maintain a to-do list based on the tasks that stem from those pieces.  Make the objectives, plans, list, and tasks visible to ensure follow-up.  For instance, calendars, agendas, Leader Standard Work, and others can help with this purpose.  

While scheduling your daily tasks, allow enough time for completion. Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself. If necessary, track your time for a while for a better estimate of how much time you need. Be realistic about your available time to work on your daily assign tasks. We all know that things happen, so do not schedule activities for the entire day. Also, minimize stress by setting up meetings and events in your calendar 30 minutes earlier.

Checking your schedule should be the first and last thing you do every day.  Check on what you have on the agenda, complete tasks, incomplete, or those you did even start.  Establish a cadence or times throughout the day to check emails and adjust your schedule if necessary.  Above all, always think about the objectives and priorities.   In other words, before you change your itinerary or jump to do something else, ask yourself how that activity will support your goals or priorities.

Stick to your plan

One tip to improve your time management is to create a plan. However, you can have the best plan it can be, but it is no good if you don’t follow it. The top causes for walking out of a good plan are distractions and procrastination. Avoid distractions by turning off notifications. It is very tempting to read that organizational change email or chat with an old colleague, but either of those things will help you to complete your tasks.  Read the post, how do you deal with distractions in the workplace? for more tips.

To overcome procrastination, learn what types of activities you put off. Maybe you are postponing things that you don’t like to do. Another possibility is that they are too complicated or will have a big impact, and you don’t want to fail. Either way, find out what is bothering you and seek a solution. Sometimes, all you need is to ask for help or clarify the purpose or objectives of the task.

While executing your daily plan, focus on one thing at a time.  Multitasking does not help you to be more efficient.  People who multitask decrease their productivity by 20-40% and are less efficient than those who focus on one project at a time.

Choose your tasks wisely

Every day you receive invitations for meetings or assignments thrown your way. Therefore, you are at risk of ending with too many things to do. It is better to say no and be honest about your ability to do something than jeopardizing the quality of your work.

If you feel that the meeting or task is important, you can delegate it to your team. Take the chance to coach and train them to gain more skills. Sometimes, outsourcing is the answer to be able to complete some tasks.

Create healthy habits

One way to overcome some of the symptoms of poor time management is by ensuring you have healthy habits. Sleeping and eating habits influence your energy and focus levels. As a result, if they are poor, they will negatively affect the quality and quantity of your work. For that reason, it is worth the try to change them.

Having an exercise routine is another healthy habit with lots of benefits for our work. Reduces stress, anxiety, improve your mood, give you more energy, and of course, helps your overall health. If you don’t have one, start with small steps, like going for a short walk in your break. You can also set a daily steps goal and measure it throughout the day for motivation.

Conclusion

If you want to improve your productivity, follow these tips to improve your time management. The 5 tips are, set SMART goals and prioritize, schedule your tasks, stick to your plan, choose wisely what to do, and create healthy habits. It takes time and consistency to create new habits, but you can do it. The benefits overcome the inconvenience. In summary, managing your time effectively will help you to accomplish more in less time, giving you the opportunity to enjoy yourself with family and friends.