What is LEAN?

LEAN is a mindset and set of tools to improve efficiency. The basic goal is to reduce waste and create more value with fewer resources. This can also be applied to personal productivity and efficiency.


Resources are the assets available to a person (or organization) for effective function or operation, They are sources of supply or support.


  • Time
  • Space
  • Energy
  • Money
  • Skills 
  • Effort
  • Support
  • Tools
  • Materials
  • Staff

Identifying Personal Values

Value is the worth or usefulness of something. In industry, value is determined by the customer and stakeholders. In the case of personal development, that could be you or your family. Each person may value things differently, so it’s important to identify what matters most. There is usually a trade-off when prioritizing which values are most important. Industrial value examples may include: safety, quality, speed, and efficiency.

Personal Value Examples:

  • Balance
  • Beauty
  • Cleanliness
  • Faith
  • Growth
  • Happiness
  • Health
  • Knowledge
  • Learning
  • Meaningful work
  • Productivity
  • Quality family time

Reducing Waste

Waste is any use of resources that doesn’t directly contribute value. Like using time or energy to do things that are unimportant or don’t make a difference. (In this case you get to determine what is important.) LEAN defines 7 categories of waste, and industry has added one more to the list.

Personal Examples of Waste:

  • Overproduction: Continually making more food than you consume (so leftovers get thrown away).
  • Inventory: storing things you don’t use, clutter.
  • Defects: Burning dinner (so you have to throw it away). Kids leave crayons in their laundry and they melt all over their clothes.
  • Motion: keeping your favorite pan on the top shelf (out of reach) so it takes unnecessary effort to retrieve it
  • Overprocessing: handwashing your dishes with dish soap before cleaning them in the dishwasher
  • Waiting: being held up in rush-hour traffic
  • Unutilized talent: not giving your kids chores

LEAN in your Life 

By minimizing waste in our lives and homes, we can create the maximum value (whatever that means to you) with the minimum required resources. Making sure your time, space, and resources are contributing to what matters most to you. That is the fundamental idea of LEAN.

How will you apply LEAN in your home and life? We’d love to hear how it works for you! Please let us know in the comments.

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