Does the thought of getting organized leave you overwhelmed and uncertain how to get started? The concept of kaizen can take you from that feeling of overwhelm to one of being in control and on the path towards accomplishment. Kaizen is a term that was coined in Japan as it began to rebuild itself after World War II – it’s the concept of small steps and continuous improvement. Kaizen is based on the premise that we can overcome initial resistance to change by patiently trusting that small steps will lead us to success.

The idea of kaizen is that even the most seemingly trivial steps that one might dismiss as insignificant are indeed significant as they lead towards accomplishing a goal. The very fact that the steps are small helps block the fear that often accompanies change, even positive change. Rather than our brain telling us to hold back on doing something because of the fear it associates with a departure from our normal behaviors and routine, the little steps of kaizen help mask the change and bypass the fear we might otherwise feel.

So what does this all mean when it comes to getting organized? When you’re facing the prospect of getting organized and don’t know where to begin, taking any small action that gets you started will help you get unstuck and lead to other small (or maybe bigger) steps that will keep you moving forward. To figure out what small step to take, ask yourself questions to give you insight into the right move to make. For example, “What’s one small thing I can do to de-clutter this room?” or “What can I do for five minutes every day that will help me reclaim my office space?”

In order to be successful in getting started with kaizen, follow these tips from the Life Excellence Newsletter

•Think of how to do it, not why it cannot be done
•Do not make excuses. Start by questioning current practices.
Making excuses for not doing something is easy.
Wisdom is brought out when faced with hardship
If you find that your best efforts at taking small steps still lead you to resistance to change, revisit and scale back the size of your steps so you can sidestep that opposition and move forward. Remember, the goal is to make the steps so tiny and seemingly insignificant that you barely notice that any effort is necessary. These small steps provide an acceptable alternative to failure.

In her book It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys, Marilyn Paul wisely says, “Small steps actually taken lead to more progress than great steps that never happen.”

Here’s to your small steps actually taken.

Author's Bio: 

Internationally known professional organizer, author, and speaker Sue Becker is the founder and owner of From Piles to Smiles®. She enjoys helping people from around the world live better lives by creating customized systems to overcome their overwhelming paperwork, clutter, and schedules. She specializes in helping people who are chronically disorganized - those for whom disorganization has been a lifelong struggle that negatively impacts every aspect of their life, especially people with AD/HD. Her hands-on help, as well as her presentations, have helped thousands of individuals create substantial change in their lives.

Sue is Illinois’ first Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization. She co-authored the book Conversations on Success, and has appeared as an organizational expert on NBC News and the national TV show, Starting Over. A CPA, Sue has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.