What Is Living Lean?

I want to help you live a simpler life, but first I need to tell you a story.

Most of us live in two worlds.  We exist in one reality at home with our families and step into another when we go to work.  While many people are successful in both of these venues, they seldom carry methods over from one into the other.

In 2003 I went to work for Toyota.

You’ve probably heard of Toyota.  Around the world, their cars are respected for their quality.  In the world of manufacturing they are seen as the ideal of efficient production.     When western companies realized the success Toyota was having, they began to study their system.  Eventually is was renamed the Lean Manufacturing System.  Industries as diverse as software design and food manufacturing have since adopted these techniques with great success.

Somehow though, the engineers and managers at these companies tend to leave what they have learned at the office.  Too often their garages are overflowing with disorganized possessions, and they live tens of miles from where they work, shop, and seek entertainment.  The divide between the world of business and home life is too great to be bridged.  For years I was as guilty as everyone else.

In 2007, I took a new role at work.  My job was teaching the finer points of Toyota’s manufacturing philosophy.  Before long I was starting to feel a little like a hypocrite.  My work-self would have given my home-self an earful for hoarding so much junk, indiscriminately arranging the things we regularly used, and spending so many wasted hours in a car.  I decided it was time to start doing something about it.

Over the last several years, my family and I have been experimenting with doing just that by incorporating Lean philosophy into our home lives.  In that time we have found many ways to put theory into practice.

Our lives are not waste free, but we have been living simpler, less costly lives for nearly five years.  We have eliminated 70% of our possessions.  We drive less and walk more.  We worry less about the volatility in gas prices.  Our food is more fresh, and we throw less of it away. We have been able to pay off all of our debt, free up more time for the things we love to do, and live more worry free lives.  Now I would like to share those successes with you. That’s where this blog comes in.

Here are a few of the lessons we have learned:

  • How you can look at the world through different eyes, see waste everywhere, and focus on its reduction
  • How you can eliminate many of the things that are costing you time and money through a system of deliberate organization
  • How the principle of flow can help you reduce frustration and prevent hours of wasted effort
  • How stopping and fixing problems when they occur can unburden your mind
  • How intentionally restricting your choices can both simplify your life and make you more effective
  • How making things more visual can eliminate confusion and keep your projects on track

Interested?  Great!  I’d love for you to subscribe and follow along.  Do you have a similar story?  Cool!  I love to hear it.  email me: thad@thaddaeusmoody.com

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