Toyota’s Secret to 22.8% Higher Productivity

Want in on a Toyota practice that boosts productivity 22.8 percent? It is the topic of this article, with 7 tips to apply this practice today.

Toyota's Productivity Secret

A Harvard study showed that taking 15 minutes per day to reflect increased productivity by 22.8 percent. And, Toyota confirmed the conclusion of this study when they gave employees 15 minutes each day to reflect. They specifically asked them to think of 2 ways to improve during their reflection. They saw measurable and significant increases in productivity in line with Harvard’s study.

What is Reflection

We like to define reflection as learning from the past, planning for the future, and living in the present.

Looking back, this includes appreciating, valuing, and learning from past experiences — good and bad. Looking forward, this involves hoping, planning, dreaming, and aspiring. In the present, this is distilling your lessons learned and future plans into what you will do today to make the most of your life. This directly improves productivity, leadership, health, and relationships.

Be Liked a Whale!

Like a whale coming up for breath, reflection is your chance to disengage, reset, and then re-engage with renewed focus, capacity, and purpose. So, use the below practices to disengage, reset, and then re-engage with renewed vigor. You’ll see direct improvements in your leadership, productivity, health, and relationships.

Seven Best Practices for Reflection

So, how do you look back, live in the present, and look forward at the daily, weekly, monthly, and annual level? Here are seven ways:

Reflect daily by starting the day with three basic questions:

  • What is the first task I’ll do today?
  • What’s my most important task today?
  • What one task will bring me closer to my goals?

At the end of the day you can (1) review your daily priorities and tasks and review what was completed, delegated, cancelled, or rescheduled, and (2) you can take a minute or two to write down your wins for the day and what you’re grateful for (a gratitude journal).

Reflect weekly by following the four steps of pre-week planning (and pre-week planning is perhaps the most impactful exercise of reflection you can do):

  1. Review your vision and goals
  2. Write down your key life roles
  3. Set key actions items for each role
  4. Schedule a time for each action item

You reflect at the monthly, semi-annual, and annual level when you use this monthly reflection template (which is a part of the BYB paper planner), update your personal vision, set roles and goals, and calibrate your work-life balance with the circle of peace and balance.

Wrapping Up

So, take time to deliberately and intentionally reflect:

  • Reflect daily by planning and reviewing your priorities and tasks
  • Reflect weekly by pre-week planning
  • Reflect quarterly and annually as you develop your vision, set roles and goals, and use the circle of peace and balance to “calibrate” your life.

You’ll be a better leader. You’ll be more productive. And you’ll have better health and relationships. That’s becoming your best.

“We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey

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