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14 Jan

Build your structure little by little

Datum: 2020-01-14 09:08

When we want to cre­ate struc­tured work-relat­ed meth­ods and ways, we need func­tion­al tools that help us do what we want to get done.

These might be phys­i­cal items such as box­es, draw­ers, stands, binders, shelves, jars, hole punch­ers, pens, scis­sors, rulers and so on.

But the tools we use are of course becom­ing increas­ing­ly dig­i­tal, and tend to con­sist of apps, ser­vices, and soft­ware. They store infor­ma­tion we need, per­form oper­a­tions we do not want to do our­selves, deliv­er what we need when we most need it, and are the actu­al tools in or with which we cre­ate the essence of what our job is all about — such as cre­ate arti­cles on struc­ture, for instance.

An invert­ed clean-up

One com­mon pit­fall some of us fall into is that they obtain all the tools first and then begin struc­tur­ing them­selves and their work to fit the tools. When they start a new job or get a new office, they head out to buy let­ter trays, mag­a­zine hold­ers, box­es and a num­ber of pret­ty stor­age-items they believe they will need. But once they get back to the office, they have a hard time think­ing of what to put in all of these new stor­age-pos­si­bil­i­ties. This is where you might unin­ten­tion­al­ly con­fuse your­self. After all, you might think in one way when orga­niz­ing your office dur­ing that first week, but then rea­son along com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent lines once you are up and running.

A dig­i­tal equiv­a­lent of this prob­lem is if we down­load all the smart apps we hear of and cre­ate accounts (often for free) in all the cloud-based ser­vices that are hot right now. We use them half-heart­ed­ly in a few dif­fer­ent con­texts, and even­tu­al­ly, end up feel­ing uncer­tain which ser­vice or app we used for what project.

Once again, we have made life more dif­fi­cult for our­selves than need be, and have to spend time look­ing for infor­ma­tion or doing tasks twice. In both these instances, it is as if we try to con­struct our entire struc­ture before we even begin using it and putting it to the test.

Start with some­thing, not everything

Instead of tak­ing this approach, focus on your need first and on the tool that will help you sat­is­fy this need sec­ond. You do not have to con­struct the per­fect struc­ture first and then begin using it. Start where you stand, by struc­tur­ing one aspect of where you are and what you have in front of you, and solve one sin­gle struc­ture-relat­ed prob­lem first. When you have made this solu­tion work, move on to the next prob­lem or aspect. And so on.

Do this

If you want to make the struc­tur­ing itself eas­i­er, then right now ask yourself:

  • What struc­ture-relat­ed prob­lem do you want to focus on first?

  • What struc­tur­ing tool have you got­ten and still nev­er used, which is unre­lat­ed to this first prob­lem you are attempt­ing to solve? Remove it or at least put it away for a while, so that it is not clut­ter­ing your space (be it phys­i­cal or dig­i­tal). Not too long ago I real­ized that I have a hole punch­er and it occurred to me that I no longer use binders, mean­ing I no longer have an actu­al need for a hole punch­er. I guess I thought you are sup­posed to have a hole punch­er” in a sup­ply store at some point.

  • What is the next, small­est step you can take towards solv­ing your issue or struc­ture-relat­ed prob­lem? Do it right away or cre­ate a to-do-task that tells you to do it and add it to your list.

Steady does it

If you improve your struc­ture lit­tle by lit­tle instead of get­ting ahead of your­self and try­ing to get it all up and run­ning in one go, the change will not get the bet­ter of you and you will allow your­self to grad­u­al­ly dis­cov­er solu­tions to your prob­lems that actu­al­ly help you. You build your new struc­ture one step at a time and will not have to wait until it is fin­ished before enjoy­ing the ben­e­fits of hav­ing solved prob­lems and found smoother work­ing meth­ods. You can cel­e­brate small steps of progress often, and enjoy your life get­ting a lit­tle eas­i­er with every step.

What is your way?

What is the next struc­ture-relat­ed prob­lem you want to address? Feel free to leave a com­ment to share your thoughts on the matter.