Kaizen for University Students

By Nifaosan Raden Ahmad

Kaizen, a renowned Japanese philosophy of management was proposed by Masaaki Imai in the 1986. Currently the implement has been widely used in various organizations with the aim of reducing wasted activities in the process of working that involves all workers and executives. The philosophy of Kaizen can be adopted in any arena of life, personal, social or work since there is always a room for improvement that Kaizen stands for continuous improvement. For instance, Toyota Motor Corporation, a world’s leading automotive manufacturer, has successfully adopted Kaizen towards production system so-called ‘Toyota Way’ to increase productivity and save cost, in turn, it generates better performance. The Japanese way such Kaizen believes that there should be improvement in every single day in a firm which focuses on gradual improvement rather than radical change.

The principle of Kaizen refers to elimination, reduction and change concerning wasted activities. Although Kaizen cannot solve all problems particularly complicated processes, it focuses on continuous improvement in everyday using low cost, low technology, and people focused. Not merely small or large group can adopt Kaizen but individual as well, particularly university students should adopt it in order to increase productivity since doing homework assignments is a mundane task that easily causes students to come out with low productivity and feel stressful when deadline comes too close.

When students intend to write up their theses at a particular time, for example, two hours in library, they should quit all wasted activities that might disturb them during working, for instance, chatting via social media platforms by switching off all devices leading to chatting for two hours and focus on their works. Some students cannot stop using social media since they have a lot of works to communicate with people through chatting, then controlling time for using it is an optional way to deal with. Every half an hour, they are allowed to chat and then turn back to work again. In case of they cannot certainly quit and reduce the chatting during working time and still create low productivity in each day, then change the environment or way of working is the last solution in which they may find a new place with no WiFi signal for working.

Additionally, students can adopt an implement of time management ‘Pomodoro Technique’ along with Kaizen to eliminate wasted activities and stay away from procrastination. The technique was created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s when he was in college and looked for the implement to help him concentrate on his study. Pomodoro technique is divided into four main Pomodoros for the To-Do-Today list, each Pomodoro (called Pomodori) takes 25 minutes for concentrating on your work and after that allows you to take a rest for five minutes. When the fourth Pomodori is done, you are allowed to take a break for 15-20 minutes.

Kaizen not only use in small and large groups but individual can adopt it along with Pomodoro technique to help eliminate wasted activities during working periods. The Kaizen principles; elimination, reduction, and change may assist students in increasing their productivity by generating small improvements continually in writing homework assignment or thesis. Since thesis writing is a long process of learning and journey, Kaizen can help students manage their times and get rid of wasted activities to generate productivity improvements by getting a little bit better in every single day.

[Photo Credit: www.sbmuum.my]


“You cannot do Kaizen just once or twice and expect immediate results. You have to be in it for the long haul.”

~Masaaki Imai, father of Kaizen, 1997~