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You’ve got a pile of bills to pay, a large project deadline in the next few weeks, and the desk in your office needs cleaning. We’ve all been in this position, wondering what to do first and where to start! It all seems so overwhelming.
But there’s an easy way to cut down on the overwhelm, beat procrastination, and make headway on the most important tasks in your day. It’s called the Kaizen Approach, and we’re breaking it down for you in this post.
Here at The VA Studio, we’ve learned that we’re likely to procrastinate when we fear, dread, or have anxiety about an important task awaiting us (there are also potentially deeper forces at work, too).
This makes sense – when you think about what you put off doing, we bet you’re more likely to postpone a tense meeting or lengthy phone call than a fun outing with your best friend or a Friday night Netflix binge!
But how can you overcome the urge to procrastinate so you can be productive, successful, and get more done? One of our favourite methods is the Kaizen Approach.
Kaizen: A Japanese word that means ‘continuous improvement’. It’s built on the concept of taking small, consistent steps to improve your life each day.
The Kaizen Approach can be used in any aspect of your life, from getting your Sunday chores done to tackling client projects large and small.
So, that big project can actually be broken down into more manageable, bite-size tasks. You could take the following steps in this case:
1) Write down every single task you have to perform to complete the project
2) Group tasks under specific categories – for example, if you’re creating a marketing campaign, you might have Website Development, Content Creation, Design, Photography, and Social Media components.
3) Determine how many stages your project has, from the Conception or Ideation stage right up to the Launch Date.
4) Assign your categories to each stage.
5) Create a day-to-day schedule using your favourite digital or old-school pen and paper calendar, that everyone involved in the project can see and will be accountable to upholding.
When it comes to planning, online tools and old-school pen and paper can both help you and your team organize your projects. Fortunately, we have a few tools we use every day and love recommending to our clients, from web-based collaboration software to content creation programs and time tracking apps.
We rave about it to clients, and even use it around the office! Caleb Booker, our Content Specialist, swears by it:
“The Kaizen Approach and its philosophy of small incremental change really help me beat any resistance I might have to diving into a task. If I look at something and say to myself, ‘I can’t deal with that today’, I do a little bit and let it go. Just doing a little bit makes me feel like I can do a little bit more, and a little bit more. The other half of the equation – knowing that I can make small and incremental adjustments as time goes on – reduces my fear of failure.”
If you don’t believe us, listen to an expert:
“Becoming one per cent better every day is a simple, practical way to achieve big goals. One percent seems like a small amount. Yes, it is. It’s tiny. It’s easy. It’s doable. And it’s applicable to most things you want to do or accomplish.”
Whether you procrastinate because of anxiety, overwhelm or other reasons, it can strangle your potential for success. But by using the Kaizen Approach to do one percent every day and make small, incremental changes as required, you can beat the overwhelm that sinks in the next time you take on a big project.
What are your favourite ways to beat procrastination? Tell us in the comments!