The new year is still fresh and more or less a blank page to fill. And even though your calendar might be filling up with appointments and engagements for the next year to come already, I am sure you have space for activities that will refine your working methods and structure.
I am assuming this because I am guessing you are not completely and entirely happy with how your days and weeks turn out — perhaps there is some room for improvement? I know I am not, and that I will be making changes this year to bring myself a step closer to where I ultimately want to be. I too had things happen last year that were not to my liking; situations I wish to handle differently were they to happen again. To me, and I am sure to you as well, there is a certain element of refining and fine-tuning in everything I do — even during the most ordinary days. Perhaps you share my belief and experience that this constant striving to improve how I work is quite enjoyable, and to some extent almost addictive.
So, what part of your structure do you want to improve throughout this year? You will probably make a great number of readjustments, but if you had to choose just one thing you will change — what would it be?
- Take a moment or two to ponder what structure-related shortcoming you want to revise during the year ahead. It can be anything that has not worked to your liking lately. Personally I will let the year ahead be all about simplifying things.
- Set a goal that defines how you want to improve and how much, so that you have a reason to celebrate when you have successfully achieved it, since these small everyday ”victories” do a lot for our general sense of wellbeing. My goal is to simplify at least 25 routines or things I do regularly, so that I have more time, zest and energy for all the things I would rather do.
- If the new improvement means you have to do something new or act in a new way when something special happens, formulate it as an ”if …, then …”-statement, a so called ”implementation intention”. According to professor Gollwitzer it will then be easier to remember doing things according to the new way from now on.
- If you should want to remind yourself to act according to the new way, write a note reminding yourself or think of some other physical reminder that ”sticks out” in one of the two ways the researchers Milkman and Rogers recommend.
- If you need to take out, restructure or create something before making the structure improvement that will take you longer than day to do, make it into a project, which you split into small steps and then write these on your to-do-list.
- You will now be able to take small steps often, and eventually your structure will be at least a bit better, and so will your work days.
All the way to the finish line
If you decide on refining at least one aspect of your structure right now at the beginning of the year, you are more likely to succeed. It will be easier to take small, concrete steps in the right direction — especially if your days tend to be intense and stressful. It will be easier to successfully make your desired change, and you will reap the fruits of your labor sooner as well.
What’s your way?
What improvements are you looking to make in the year to come? Write and share your structure-related New Years resolution here in a comment.