The Kind Blog

May 13, 2020

Kaizen; The One Minute Principle
It’s been a couple of months since the world paused and everything changed. All of us are adjusting because we still don’t know what ‘normal’ looks like and probably won’t for some time.

A few weeks ago we sent out a newsletter about the importance of routine. As someone who struggles with ADHD, I rely heavily on routine and ways to keep my brain focused especially when things are stressful. I know that this is true for many of you, as well. Fear and uncertainty have crept into our lives to accompany that stress… but, there are ways to overcome.

There is a wonderful Japanese practice called “Kaizen”, and it is so simple in its beauty. The word itself has two roots - ‘kai’ (change) and ‘zen’ (wisdom). It is a one-minute principle for self-improvement. At the heart of it is the idea that a person should practice doing something for a single minute, every day at the same time. More often than not we find excuses not to do things when we believe it will take a long time. But, we can all do something for 60 seconds.

As many of us start to head back to work, it is important to build a new sense of routine when things will look different and new. It’s kind of like starting a new job - you don’t know what it’s going to be like, how people are going to act, what the norms will be or how you’re supposed to behave.

Don’t worry. Everyone is feeling some sense of anxiety and caution and that’s normal.

Try practicing Kaizen at work - create 60 seconds of routine that will bring you joy and satisfaction. When you feel you’re accomplishing something, you will begin to increase the amount of time you spend doing the task. If you’re stuck on what to focus on for those 60 seconds, start with a little bit of gratitude. You may be feeling upset or resentful that you have to physically go back to work if your employer has asked you to return. It is perfectly understandable and reasonable to feel that way. Perhaps look at reframing your feelings to gratitude by telling yourself that you are glad to have a job, a paycheck and a sense of purpose. While your situation may not be ideal, there are always reasons to be grateful.

Perhaps you have had a chance to get in touch with someone you’ve not spoken to in awhile. Maybe you’ve started gardening or cleaned out your garage. Tried a new recipe you were nervous to attempt? Every little thing you’re doing is part of what makes you the incredible person you are… so spend 60 seconds each day focusing on one of those things that makes you so wonderful.

Brooke Jones, Vice President


MAY 27, 2020
Thank you for you openness and for sharing this valuable exercise. I came across your organization as I'm trying to set happiness and well-being routines in these difficult times.

MAY 18, 2020
Beautiful message, thank you for sharing!

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