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How to Use Japanese Organization Methodology to Bring Harmony to Your Life

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Daily stress can have many causes and result in feelings of anxiety, fear and anticipation.
One major cause of stress in our lives is what Psychologists call Cognitive Dissonance.
In layman terms, Cognitive Dissonance is when a person simultaneously holds conflicting ideas and thoughts.
Doing a favor for a person whom you dislike, becoming a cheerleader for a cause you don't believe in, and enduring hazing rituals to gain membership into a group; are all examples of Cognitive Dissonance.
The theory proposes that individuals have a natural desire to reduce or eliminate this conflict by changing their outlook, attitudes, physical actions and/or belief systems.
Clutters in the bedroom, disorganization in the front office, loose paper mayhem in the kitchen, customer service workflow are a few physical examples that lead to cognitive dissonance in our lives.
Being unorganized or having a messy areas in our lives is something most people would like to change.
So why don't they? If something is not working, why not change it? A lot of times, the belief systems are changed to accept the clutter or it turns to blaming, denial or justification (other dissonance reduction methods).
Fortunately, the Japanese have created a very simple and easy 5 step system to reduce this internal conflict.
The process is so simple and so effective that it can help to organize anything from a disastrous garage to the home office of an entrepreneur.
1.
Seiri or Sorting.
This is the first step in the process and involves removing all items, parts, tools and materials that do not belong in that area.
We wouldn't store our lawnmower in the home office, or pots and pans in the bathroom.
Determine all the necessary things needed for the particular area that you are sorting and remove or eliminate all others.
2.
Seiton or Straightening.
This is the second step in the process and involves setting all of the items in order.
Everything should have its place and there should be a place for everything.
For the home office a dedicated place for supplies, reference material, computer, phone, etc.
should be determined.
Car maintenance items, workbench tools, seasonal decorations, dry goods, etc.
should all have a place in the garage as an example.
3.
Seiso or Shining.
This is the third step in the process and involves cleaning the area to make sure it is tidy and everything is in its designated place.
Computer and phone in the home office dust free, printer paper clean and crisp, dry goods in the garage within the expiration date, seasonal items in working condition, etc.
The third step will be an ongoing step and should be completed each and every the area is utilized.
4.
Seiketsu or Standardizing.
This is the fourth step in the process and involves setting up the "standard" for that particular area.
If we are using this method for the kitchen, for example; every family member should have a blueprint to where items are stored when not in use.
Silverware goes in this draw, pots and pans are stored in this cabinet, electronics are stored on this table, etc.
5.
Shitsuke or Sustaining.
This is the fifth and final step in the process and involves maintaining the first 4 S's in the system.
Once the sorting, straightening, shining and standardizing have taken place, the system needs to move in a circular motion to maintain its functionality.
This step is really a mindset that after you use the area (the home office, the garage, the kitchen) that things are put back into place, the area is cleaned and that you haven't changed the location of any items.
This Japanese Organization Methodology is often referred to as 5S (Five S), and was originally developed for manufacturing companies in an effort to eliminate waste.
The 5S process is a vital part of Lean Thinking (Lean Production, Lean Management, etc.
).
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