Have you ever noticed that when your workplace or home is full of clutter: paper notes all over your desk, blank documents, stuffed table tops, piles on the floor, homeless things just make everything look dirty…. Do you get a lot of stress?
An unorganized office or home can leave you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and add to your stress levels. It also makes your day less productive. Do you always ask “where is it?” or trying to look for things but can’t find them? Do others constantly ask you where they can find something? Did you do something again because you couldn’t find it the first time? Or maybe you bought a new one for something? An informal office or home can create a lot of inefficiency. In addition it can seem insignificant and we all want to make a positive impact on the people around us whether they are our partners or friends who visit our home.
The Japanese realized this decades ago in their factories and developed a concept called 5S that has been used by some of the world’s largest and most advanced companies to improve the quality, safety and productivity, and workforce.
Now what is this tool about? Here are the 5S steps:
Step 1 – CHECK
This is about sorting out what is needed (really needed) from what is not needed in the area (your office or home eg cabinet). This can be very challenging, but you need to ask yourself the following questions:
What is the purpose of this place? What needs to be done?
Do I need these things?
How often do I use them?
When was the last time I used them?
Are they still working?
You should then arrange the items into three groups: “not needed at all” and you will end up, “occasionally needed” – you should move these items to cabinets labeled far away, and “often needed” – occupy a space immediately.
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Step 2 – SET
This step means deciding where the items to store should be stored / stored or stored locally. This is about having a place for everything and everything in its place. The items you use regularly should be kept close to where you use them to minimize unnecessary movement. Less frequently used items can be stored remotely. Importantly, you should have clearly marked areas for items such as labeled drawers or cabinets so that items are easily accessible and easily visible.
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Step 3 – SHINE
Now is the time to clean up – this is about making sure the place is clean. So it’s time to take off your cleaning gloves and products and make your space shine! Don’t forget the hidden places. As a practical point, it is sometimes simpler and easier to do this step before step 2.
Step 4 – STANDARDIZE
This is a very important step but we often forget. Once you have put all the hard work in steps 1-3 you should create a standard for how the space will continue to look. This is about writing down or making it clear what is the expected level of cleanliness and order that needs attention, how much cleaning or planning is done, who is in charge, where the common areas of things and so on. A good level of observation will ensure that everyone is aware of the expected situation and the place where you work or your home will remain organized. If you do not set this level, you can be sure that in a very short time your area will return to the same square.
Step 5 – SUSTAIN
This is probably the hardest thing but the standard will help you keep your workplace or home well-organized and comfortable. Regularly monitoring the area and comparing it with quality will help keep it in good condition. It is a good idea to set a regular routine to check your location and maintain its condition.
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