Wednesday, May 2, 2012

5s-ing Your Way To A More Relaxed Mommy Life

Originating from Japan where people are known to exercise rigid discipline and fastidiousness, the 5s principle has gained a widespread following especially in the corporate world.  But one can actually adopt the concept on a more personal level.

The 5s principle advocates more productivity, good quality, and an improved state of being when followed. When one's environment is in shipshape condition, one is relaxed and in pretty good disposition, and is able to think and act efficiently.   Personally, that's what I feel. When there's clutter everywhere, I feel so caved in, couldn't think straight, and unable to start anything.  I feel there's a lot of setback in my life and I need to stop the clock for the meantime, while I clean up.

The five esses stand for the Japanese terms seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke.   All these terms put together means everything should be visually easy--nothing out of place, everything handy at a glance. Order and convenience working together.  Doesn't sound so easy, right?

Seiri is roughly translated in English as "sort". True enough, the first thing to do when you're cleaning up is to go through your things and check which ones are useful and which are not, which ones are yours and which are not.  Which tasks need immediate attention and which could be put on hold for at least a while.  Ergo, segregate. Yes, mommy, throw it away if you don't need it.  Aah, that's difficult.  We tend to hold on to things that have sentimental values, or practical values (things that "may come handy in the future").

Seiton, in English, is "set in order".  After sorting, we put things in easily-recognizable containers in easily-reachable areas.  Sometimes we tend to forget where we put things once we've cleaned up. When time comes that we need some stuff we could no longer remember where we've stashed them.  Putting like things in a container just isn't enough. So, labels would be most helpful, especially when we're getting into THAT stage, if you know what I mean.

Next is seiso, which means "sweep, shine, scrub" or any such term that would mean one removes dirt or anything that is considered as junk, trash, garbage, etc. In big organizations, seiso would mean a systematic clean-up. On a more personal level, we can just sum it up as "clean as you go", especially in the kitchen.

Down the line is the term seiketsu, which means standardize. Others say it also means simplify. Now, that's a tough one, because mommies have great tendencies to be lenient or inconsistent especially when matters appeal to the heart. And when the heart is concerned, everything becomes complicated. Well, it takes conviction setting standards, so mommies, when something doesn't belong, haven't been used, is not going to be used anywhere near the present, it's probably best disposed of. And if something doesn't meet our liking, then it's probably substandard, be it service or product. And if...oh, if...what if...

Finally, we have the shitsuke, which means "sustain", or "make it a habit."  This one, too, looks so not easy.   But you know, Rome wasn't built in a day. It might take  a while getting inured to the 5s method, but self-discipline will definitely see us through. Well, this isn't new to us, mommies, we've got habits established...I just don't know if they're the right ones.  If they aren't, then try to break them even if old habits are hard to break.  Just let's begin with one small step, and never stop.  So, 5s, anyone?#

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