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03 Apr

Could you get too much of the good stuff?

Datum: 2017-04-03 16:01

Dur­ing an inter­view I gave the oth­er day I was asked Isn’t there a risk that we struc­ture things too much?”. I under­stand this con­cern, and I get this ques­tion from time to time.

You can abuse vir­tu­al­ly any­thing. Hypo­thet­i­cal­ly we could get a driver’s license and enjoy dri­ving so much that we would just keep dri­ving and dri­ving until it final­ly influ­ences our rela­tion­ships with fam­i­ly and friends. But, I would say that this sce­nario rarely (or nev­er) occurs.

Only one in many years
Through­out all the years work­ing in the field I can bare­ly remem­ber meet­ing any­one who struc­tures their work too much. I can bring to mind a sin­gle per­son who by rou­tine print­ed out sev­er­al copies of dig­i­tal mate­r­i­al, as well as labeled and sort­ed things in a cum­ber­some phys­i­cal sys­tem. But, again, this is the only one I have met.

It is much more com­mon that we do not have enough struc­ture and that we there­fore have less time than we would like for what mat­ters to us. We look for things, we for­get things, we pri­or­i­tize incor­rect­ly, we do things which we have already done. Almost all my clients and mentees need more struc­ture, not less.

For­get about it
So, if you fear that you would over-struc­ture your work if you were to improve on your struc­ture, think again. Throw your­self into sim­pli­fy­ing your work­day and if you would ever feel hes­i­tant, try the new method any­way. You can always stop and go back to your old ways if you would feel that a method takes more ener­gy and time than it gives back.

If you want to be on the safe side in terms of a few areas which can use some struc­tur­al improve­ments, then ask your­self in all honesty:

  • do you ever cre­ate labels or tags which you then do not use?

  • do you save some­thing in two places just in case when it isn’t actu­al­ly necessary?

  • are your meet­ings struc­tured in such a rigid way that there is no space for spontaneity?

  • have you lost the joy of doing a par­tic­u­lar task because you have locked your­self in a nar­row and lim­it­ed method or habit?

If so, then it is time to put some struc­tur­al detail aside, but make sure you do not put it away too soon after imple­ment­ing it because just as with shoes, struc­tur­al habits need to be worn and used for a while before you can deter­mine if they fit you.

Get into it
If you dar­ing­ly imple­ment new struc­tur­al habits instead of hes­i­tat­ing due to fear­ing that they would take over and become a hin­der­ance rather than help, you will expe­ri­ence the ben­e­fits of struc­ture to a greater extent and much more often. Your work will run smoother, you will be able to plan fur­ther in advance, you will have more time for the most impor­tant tasks, and much more. Believe me, it is worth the risk.

What is your hes­i­ta­tion about?
Is there some struc­tur­al change you would like to make, but which you keep putting off mak­ing or feel hes­i­tant towards? Tell me in a com­ment below.