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Archive for June, 2018

My #1 productivity hack: the quick “kaizen break”

June 1st, 2018 by Bob Bly

“Kaizen” is the Japanese philosophy of making continuous

Given that there is hardly anything we do that we can’t do
better, this is a smart approach to business.

The problem, however, is that our time and attention is already
absorbed by pressing tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities.

So making improvements in our systems, processes, skills, and
products too often falls by the wayside.

My solution is a business tactic I call the “kaizen break.”

Notice that as you are working frantically on getting through
your to-do list, you invariably tire.

And when you do, you take a small mental break … maybe 5 or 10
minutes … before either returning to the major task you were
working on — or moving to the next major task.

During these breaks, we often waste time, or at least are fairly
unproductive, doing everything from watching a quick YouTube
video or getting a coffee refill, to petting the dog or staring
out the window.

So here’s how to turn these short bits of wasted time into
profitable time with my “kaizen break” method.

In a kaizen break, instead of futzing around, you do a short task
— usually one with no urgency — that can produce an incremental
improvement in your business.

Example: A few weeks ago I presented one of my standard webinars,
“Effective Business Writing.”

Over the decades, I have presented versions of this basic program
on how to write better and faster dozens of times — earning
hundreds of thousands of dollars teaching it over and over.

Whenever I give one of my talks, I always think of ways,
immediately after presenting, to make it better.

So, after my most recent lecture, I printed a hard copy of the

The next day, during a short break between copywriting projects,
I went over the slides with a pen.

I made a few corrections, added a few points, and then faxed my
small edits to my PowerPoint designer for a minor update of the

The result?

In a brief pause between intensive writing, during which I
otherwise would have sat here contemplating my nave l, I instead
made a small but useful improvement to one of my core products.

Namely, a workshop that I get $5,500 a day to deliver to my
corporate training clients.

For me, turning dead time into productive time like this, and
wasted time into a money-maker, is a no-brainer.

Thanks to my new “kaizen breaks,” I am making small non-urgent
but valuable improvements to my systems and products almost
every week of the year.

And now, you can, too.


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