Poka Yoke is the Japanese phrase for “Do it right the first time!” I love the phrase because I am often telling clients, friends, and children to slow down, put their eyes where their hands are and focus on what they are doing.
All too often I see workers doing one thing, thinking another, and looking a third place. We live in an era of constant external stimulation and a demand for multi-tasking at all times. I’ve watched my computer guy (who charges for his time) work on the problem I present to him, while at the same time surfing the internet and talking to other clients on the phone. My cleaning lady is on the phone all the time and thus misses things, and even occasionally breaks things.
Multi-tasking also has us rushing about, forcing six extra errands on the way to a meeting, only to have to speed to avoid being horribly late. Not only does this preclude Poka Yoke, but it also creates much unnecessary stress. Stress makes us perform worse than when we are stress free. So – slow down – do it right the first time.