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22 Feb

Create your own structure-guide

Datum: 2022-02-22 14:42

Do you keep cre­at­ing new ways of struc­tur­ing all the time? Do you try so many dif­fer­ent solu­tions on how to keep track of every­thing you have to do, that you end up no longer feel­ing in con­trol the way you wish to be?

Do you eas­i­ly for­get where you usu­al­ly stow away a cer­tain mate­r­i­al, with the result that you choose to put it away in a new place and it hence becomes even hard­er to find it next time?

Unnec­es­sar­i­ly complicated
In this case, it sounds as though you need­less­ly make life more com­pli­cat­ed than it needs to be. Obvi­ous­ly you have got every inten­tion of find­ing the per­fect solu­tion, but on the way I am guess­ing it might get a bit labo­ri­ous and stressful.

For me, one of the main ben­e­fits of hav­ing good struc­ture is that I can be cer­tain that what is kept in a place where I store all the same mate­r­i­al of a giv­en type is real­ly all there is of that par­tic­u­lar kind. If I skim through my overview of the major tasks I need to com­plete over time (projects, changes, ini­tia­tives), I do not have to think about whether I have made note of any more of them any­where else. If I open the fold­er with all the tax-returns, all the oth­er tax-return papers should be there as well and nowhere else. And so on.

Don’t search and find it anyway
It all depends on whether we have made it easy for our­selves to remem­ber where some­thing is sup­posed to be placed and when. If you instead tend to cre­ate new places and thus spread your stored mate­r­i­al out in dif­fer­ent loca­tions, you will have a hard time get­ting an overview and hence should cre­ate a struc­ture-guide for yourself.

Do this
Cre­ate a guide, a man­u­al, or a map of the places you keep your struc­ture-com­po­nents in.

  1. First of all you need to deter­mine what for­mat you prefer
    • A list?
    • A mindmap? (This hap­pens to be my pre­ferred choice)
    • A flow­chart?
    • Some­thing entire­ly different?

  2. Now cre­ate the guide. What you need to iden­ti­fy and map out is
    • To-do-tasks — What is the only loca­tion where you make note of these?
    • Overview of all your ongo­ing major and more exten­sive tasks (each of which con­sists of sev­er­al to-do-tasks)
    • Ref­er­ence-mate­ri­als — That is to say, all the infor­ma­tion you do not know when you will need, but which you will need to find quick­ly and eas­i­ly once you need it, such as
      • E‑mails
      • Dig­i­tal files and documents
      • Paper-doc­u­ments (In for exam­ple binders, hang­ing file fold­ers , et c )
    • The kind of mate­r­i­al you know exact­ly when you will need, just not right now:
      • Dig­i­tal files — Are these acces­si­ble when­ev­er you need them?
      • Papers and phys­i­cal objects — Where do you put them so that you can not pos­si­bly for­get to bring them?
    • Bril­liant ideas you can not exe­cute now, but per­haps some­time lat­er on
    • Notes you have made on every­thing you are expect­ing from oth­er peo­ple and which you need to fol­low up on and make sure that you get in time.
    • Check­lists and rou­tine-descrip­tions — Mean­ing, descrip­tions of how you do what you do, cre­at­ed to get what you need to get done a lit­tle more auto­mat­i­cal­ly than you oth­er­wise would
    • The goals you are respon­si­ble for this week, this month, and this year (since you will need to be able to access them quick­ly when you are mak­ing con­scious choic­es on which amongst your tasks to prioritize)

  3. Ask your­self :
    • Have I got more places for any of these cat­e­gories than I actu­al­ly need?
    • Is there any place that actu­al­ly is so inac­ces­si­ble that I tend to store mate­r­i­al else­where instead of putting it where it is sup­posed to be?
    • Where should I save this guide so it is easy to spot when I need it the most?
      • Are you going to print it and hang it on the wall with­in eye­sight from your desk?
      • Do you put it in the bag that you always car­ry with you?
      • Do you cre­ate a short­cut to it on your com­put­er desk­top and allow it to remain there for a few weeks until it is obvi­ous to you where every struc­tur­al com­po­nent should be?

  4. If you decide you want to change some­thing, for­mu­late the change as a to-do-task and add it to your to-do-list. This makes it easy to get going with ini­tial­iz­ing the change instead of just think­ing you should do it some oth­er time.

Let the wiz­ard guide you
If you cre­ate a struc­ture guide accord­ing to the instruc­tions pro­vid­ed above, it will be easy to find mate­r­i­al that you unnec­es­sar­i­ly save in sev­er­al places and for which it hence becomes unclear where to look for (and hence where you should store things away).

When you from now on receive some­thing you want to save in a safe spot (so that you can eas­i­ly find it) while wait­ing for you to take action on it or that you need the mate­r­i­al, you will feel that you know how to save it so that you know where it is, and hence be able to relax even when things are as most stress­ful at work.

How do you do it?
What is your best way to stick to the struc­ture you have decid­ed to use, instead of con­tin­u­ous­ly mak­ing up new ways of working?
Con­ti­nu­ity is a pre­req­ui­site for suc­cess in estab­lish­ing a good struc­ture in your work­ing envi­ron­ment and that is why your tip is warm­ly wel­comed. Share it with me!