6 Sigma – principles to live and work by

6 Sigma – principles to live and work by

Once a way for businesses to refine their processes, the 6 Sigma methodology has been co-opted by high-level executive professionals as a way to assist their work/life balance. Can this structured approach in defining what is imbalanced in one’s life also work for you? Read on to find out!

You may have heard about the structured methodology known as 6 Sigma. It is often associated with businesses defining goals or potential problems, and outlining the best practice to attain the most streamlined process within a company. However, the methodology is also highly effective for reducing work and life stress.

Firstly, what is 6 Sigma?

6 Sigma is a data-driven methodology and is used in process improvement to reduce defects, minimize variability, and improve the overall quality of a product or service. It relies on statistical analysis and tools to identify and eliminate the sources of variation within a process, which consequently will lead to improved quality and higher customer satisfaction.

The 6 Sigma methodology structure & applying it to a work/life balance

Increasingly amongst Executive professionals, 6 sigma is being embraced to heighten their awareness of mental health. The modern-day stresses of the workplace, especially for those in high level leadership positions, can lead to burnout.

The Six Sigma structured approach typically consists of five phases: Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control (DMAIC).

Using the methodology on one’s life might look like this:

  • Define the problem or imbalance: Start by identifying the problem you want to solve. For example, you may feel overwhelmed with work and struggle to find time for personal activities.
  • Measure: Measure the impact of the problem on your life. You can calculate the number of hours you spend working each week compared to the time you have for relaxation or personal interests.
  • Analyse: Analyse the root causes of the problem. You may find that you are taking on too many responsibilities or not prioritising your time for non-work activities effectively.
  • Improve: Implement solutions to address the root causes of the imbalance. This could involve delegating tasks, saying "no" to additional responsibilities, or simply making time for self-care.
  • Control: Monitor the impact of the solutions you've implemented and make adjustments as necessary to maintain the balance between your work and personal life.

As with any advice on discovering ways to manage your mental health, you should take a measured approach and see what techniques or exercises help you in your particular life situation. If you already lead a heavily structured life, then the 6 Sigma methodology might be just the thing to help you de-stress!


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