chorei japanese routine that boosts productivity


If you are not a morning person like myself, than a morning routine might be the solution to putting yourself in gear each day. Embracing a morning routine can help you adopt productive habits, increase your focus, and accomplishing your goals. In fact, many famous and successful people all over the world swear that specific morning routines and personal rituals are the secrets to their success.

Usually, morning routines are personal and based on the individual’s habits and preferences. But, what about increasing team spirit, motivation, and productivity? Can you have a morning routine that helps teams set for a productive day? There is, in fact, Chorei, a Japanese routine created to boost morale and increase organizational productivity.

Chorei: Japanese Team Routine

We all know the Japanese are known for being highly organized and very productive. In addition to using amazing project management methods, like TPS and Kanban, they employ a daily morning standup routine called Chorei (pronounced “cho-ray”).

Chorei is a Japanese morning team routine that is the traditional cornerstone of Japanese business culture. Even though it can be very short, between 10-15 minutes, it is a very important tool for bringing teams together and getting them to share the same vision and motivation to work towards a common goal. Moreover, it is a great way for improving punctuality (not that Japanese need it), and boosting the morale of the whole organization.

That’s right. Chorei is not a usual team meeting. Traditionally, in Japan, Chorei is practiced as a short morning meeting for the whole organization. The manager greets the employees, they recite the company motto, and managers of each department go over the planned work for the day. It is also a great time for discussing any issues and getting a clear picture of the overall work.

Actually, Chorei is only of many activities organized to help teams connect better. Other similar Japanese activities are the bonekai (the end-of-the-year celebration) and shain-ryoko (company trips).

chorei japanese routine that boosts productivity

The Purpose and Impact of Chorei

The Chorei Japanese routine is very powerful. And part of the impact is due to the fact that attending this morning meeting is mandatory for all employees.  And there are several reasons why everyone needs to attend, including:

  • To be up-to-date with the latest organizational information
  • To coordinate the schedules, and ensure smooth cross-team collaboration
  • To get everyone on the same page about the company’s priorities
  • To state key individual or team goals and intentions
  • To repeat company values and vision and get motivated for the work ahead.

Practicing Chorei daily is an excellent way of creating a sense of belonging among team members, whether they are with the organization for several years or just started working there. It makes everyone want to share and interact with each other which in turn, gets everyone motivated and more productive.

So imagine how powerful this short meeting is!

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How to Create Your Own Tem Morning Routine?

Even though Chorei is a uniquely Japanese morning routine, very few western companies have adopted the practice. But this approach to productivity that can be easily applied in companies all over the world. It’s easy to implement, and you can even make it your own. There only a few requirements it needs to fulfill:

  1. Everyone needs to be on time, always
  2. The meeting should be short and concise, limited to 10-15 minutes in the morning
  3. After the meeting, everyone should feel empowered and motivated to do their work

Since every team and organization are different, you should try and come up with your own morning routine. But remember that creating your own version of Chorei should be a team effort. And include practices that the whole team would be comfortable doing each morning. You don’t even have to start with Chorei on the organizational level. You can start with team Chorei, then scale it out across more teams and departments. And as more people get on board, you can start practicing it across the whole organization.

If talking about company values and vision is not your thing, you can choose other activities. For example, you can try short morning yoga, have mini-speeches from different team members sharing their personal goals or inspirational talks, or discuss important industry news. But remember that whatever you do, it positively influences company culture and shared motivation. And after the meeting, people feel motivated about the workday.

Boost Your Team’s Productivity with Chorei

Usually, every person has a specific ritual that gets them motivated and ready for the day. Some drink their morning coffee in silence and read the news or a few pages of their book. Others practice a morning run or workout. But those personal rituals do not give employees a sense of belonging nor does it boost the team’s sense of unity.

That’s why Chorei has such a strong impact when introduced to western companies. It’s a perfect example of how to get your employees not only together, but excited and inspired to contribute to the team and organizational goals.

So why not try to add a new layer to your regular team meetings and switch from just sharing status updates to sharing inspiration and boosting morale and productivity?

About the Author: Ivana Sarandeska

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Ivana Sarandeska is a digital marketer, creative writer and master procrastinator. An Agile enthusiast and a firm believer that thorough planning is key to good execution and even better improvisation. She has a soft spot for technology, so most of her full-time jobs were in IT companies where she was introduced to Agile and Scrum. After she got her Scrum Basics certification she started actively using these methodologies and their main principles. Learning how to organize her time and tasks better has motivated her to dive deeper into these methodologies. Now, she is an avid advocate of Agile and Scrum and happily shares her knowledge and experience to fellow procrastinators.