How Kaizen can help you as personal assistant

How Kaizen can help you as personal assistant

Kaizen benefits for PA & EA

Kaizen principle has numerous benefits for personal assistants. They keep you focused on achieving the goal you set, or better yet, they motivate you to set a goal and take small steps towards it. For a PA, Kaizen is helpful because it guides you through creating a more organized and productive workflow. Personal assistants have a charged and busy life. It is difficult to find free time to research and implement new ways of solving issues. Kaizen requires you to take one minute and dedicate it to the goal you are interested in and help you prioritize your goals.  

Kaizen is a combination of two Japanese words Kai and Zen, that translate as continuous improvement. Kaizen´s principle is to follow a process in which we continually seek to improve our results and find better ways to succeed or do things.  

Asking yourselves repeatedly the same question it gives you the options to seek a new way and solutions each day. What steps can I take in order to improve the process or products?    

Doctor Robert Maurer used Kaizen Psychology for all his patients and asked them to take small steps towards a significant change that they wanted to make. In the beginning, he asked them to take one minute to think or do something to achieve that goal.   

Every minute of your life is like grains of sand falling through an hourglass. Once they are gone, they are gone forever, and this acknowledgment can set new perspectives for you.   

PAs must manage their time well and do not waste too much time on things that bring no value. It is crucial to identify the issues that cost you a lot of time to be more efficient.    

Applying Kaizen and looking for continuous improvements in all work areas, from workflow processes to office organization, can clear our mind and set us on a productivity track.

Kaizen has numerous benefits not only for personal assistants but for all the other employees, including higher motivation, work gets more manageable thanks to smarter and smoother processes, improvements to safety, health, and work environment through ergonomic design. 

1 Sort (SEIRI) 

Have things sorted out is the first step. It will reduce the time spent looking for necessary objects. Cleared out working space from unnecessary items will create newly available space. A freshly organized office will help you focus better. Get rid of all the distractions. Your personal workspace reflects your personality, not to mention that highly organizing skills should be the number 1 skill of any PA.  

 Action taken:  

  • anything that has not been used for a year is thrown away (or recycled if possible) 
  • If it’s used less than once a month is put away  
  • everything that is used less than once a week is stored nearby (typically in a cupboard at the office 
  • is used less than once a day is on the office desk or near 
  • used once or more in an hour is at the workstation, directly for hand  

2 Set in order (SEITON) 

Seiton, as the second step, requires you to create a good user experience for you and the other employees. As a personal assistant, you are the creator of your workflows. Setting everything in order should be the primary thing; it will make everything better accessible and user friendly.  

Action taken:  

  • Arrange the workstation based on your daily tasks needs 
  • define the storage rules 
  • make the placement of obvious objects 
  • put objects of frequent use near your desk or the employee's desks 
  • classify objects in the order of use 

3 Shine (SEISO)  

Seiso is referring to take care, clean, and maintain all the tools you regularly use, like don’t wait until there is no ink in the printer to use or let it dry. Maintain all the necessary tools updated, clean, and functional to be ready to use.    

  • clean up, inspect, detect process issues  
  • systematically restore 
  • facilitate cleaning and inspection 
  • Solve the root cause that creates the issue    

4 Standardize (SEIKETSU)  

Standardize the first three steps and create a plan to repeat them regularly. Through this repetition circle, we can see the flows, and then set a goal and plan to do tasks more efficiently.  

As an assistant, sometimes, all the big issues from the cleaning department arrive at you. Let's say that the recycle paper bins are misused, maybe because the employees don't know that you cannot put the dirty pizza cartoon in this bin. You would have to find a solution to this problem. You would probably have to attach a self-explanatory image on the paper container or find another solution. 

Another example, the remote control for the projector is always misplaced, or the last person who uses it always leaves the room with it by mistake. The solution to this issue would be to mark the place where the remote belongs, contour the area, and label it with this purpose. This particular measure will suggest that everyone should put the remote back to this place after they are done using it. 

5 Sustain/self-discipline (SHINSUKE)  

Shitsuke is referring to all the 5S steps and ensuring that they are being implemented on your PA daily tasks continuously to become habits eventually.   

Sometimes, the implementation requires long training and patience. Other employees need time to start following them and understand the concept.  

Still, only regular audits are the ones that ensure if the action was taken upon or not.  

When you notice an issue as a personal assistant, identify what is causing it, and find what the best solution for it is. 

5 S has the following specific objective:  

  • get rid of what is unnecessary  
  • organize the workspace in a more effective way 
  • improve the state of cleanliness  
  • prevent the appearance of dirt and disorder  
  • encourage self-discipline efforts in the right direction 

The system also allows to:   

  • improve working conditions and staff morale  
  • reduce the time and energy spent on a task   
  • reduce the risk of accidents   
  • improve the quality of production management 

Hope you liked our article, we have also implemented this technique in our workspace, and we recommend it.