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Lean Methodologies to the Rescue

My work has evolved a great deal from a focus on the realm of the mind and neuroscience to a deep love affair with Lean methodologies (think Lean, Six Sigma, Agile, etc.). Lean processes are a method of improving processes, reducing waste, increasing efficiency, and uncovering the solutions that bring you from your current state to a future desired state. Since I began my Lean journey I have been using these methods for my professional life, my academic life, and my personal life. No matter how much you improve your mind and body, you won't be at your best if your processes, systems, and environment are in disarray.

One great place to start is with 5S, which is a method of eliminating and organizing the material items in your work and home life to simplify and find the things you need such as office supplies, data, kitchen items, and even clothes or your children's toys. 6S is another variation that includes S for safety. The 5 S's of 5S are:

  • Sort

  • Set in Order

  • Shine

  • Standardize, and

  • Sustain

One of the most useful nuggets I gained from 5S at home was the practice of placing the most often used items in an organized and ready to access place. This separates items into hot items (used often) and cold items (used rarely). Now my "junk" drawers are neat and organized and my lesser used items such as a staple remover (I usually use paperclips at home instead of staples) are in a cold (rarely used) bin above my refrigerator. And yes, I know where (almost) every item lives in my home. Between my career and school and personal life, I don't have time to sort through my junk every time I need a Post-it note (hot item). There are loads of resources on Lean processes on the internet, so I'm not going to include a full lesson here, here's a quick video to get you started:

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