How to Use A6 Thinking (aka A3)

(C) 2013, Jens R. Woinowski, leanself.org

(C) 2013, Jens R. Woinowski, leanself.org

The picture above shows an improvement plan in a special format. I will discuss this in today’s post. If you have not read my post on the elements of an improvement plan, I suggest to do that first.

Guess what will happen then. You are right, nothing. A6 thinking is the trick you are looking for. It is the application of A3 thinking from Lean Management to self-improvement. Reduce your improvement plan until you can put it onto an A6 card (or a 5×3 index card). The result should look like my example for tackling a long to-do list, given in the graphic above. In square brackets, I denote the element as stated above, where not obvious.You should notice that all the entries use “I” and “my” a lot and are action oriented. Even the goals in the “measurement” entry are defined by actions.

The “next step” entry needs some explanation. It is an application of the “As If” principle. By limiting yourself to work only four five minutes, you reduce the fear to start at all. However, it is a little like opening a bag of crisps. Once you have eaten two or three, you cannot stop to empty the bag. The same trick applies here. By only working on your to-do list for some minutes, you will change your behavior and show yourself that it is possible at all.

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