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19 Feb

Finding something where it is not

Datum: 2019-02-19 08:05

When every­thing just flows in our work, we have access to what we need to com­plete our tasks at the exact moment we need it. We look for a mate­r­i­al where we believe we will find it, and there it is. Every­thing runs along smooth­ly and we fin­ish the tasks in no time. When this is the case, I feel light, quick and almost invincible.

It’s not there
Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this is not always the case. Some­times what we are look­ing for is not where we expect­ed to find it. Oth­er times we know where to find what we need, but it is hard to get to (either dig­i­tal­ly or phys­i­cal­ly) and requires sub­stan­tial effort to obtain. In both sce­nar­ios our progress is obstruct­ed and our flow prob­a­bly interrupted.

Keep­ing it close at hand
What if we always had what we need­ed more or less close by? We would then quick­ly and in a sin­gle move reach what­ev­er we need­ed to fin­ish the task before us.

Even if we do not have absolute­ly every­thing we might need in our imme­di­ate pres­ence, ref­er­ence points, hyper­links and short­cuts can help us get to the right mate­r­i­al in a jiffy. We can be aid­ed not only by the tools them­selves, for exam­ple the link on the web­site or the short­cut in Find­er or File Explor­er, but also by the prin­ci­ple itself: the fact that we place some­thing some­where that will help us get to a far-off some­thing as eas­i­ly as possible.

A most wel­come correction
I do not know how much you adhere to this advice, but I could def­i­nite­ly apply this prin­ci­ple to my work­day more. We could for instance:

  • put up a small sign in the loca­tion where we incor­rect­ly more than once have looked for some­thing, which tells us where the object is

  • cre­ate a short­cut in File Explor­er or an alias in Find­er in the fold­er we keep com­ing back to when look­ing for some­thing we then remem­ber being locat­ed elsewhere

  • write down the URLs to the web­sites we need when per­form­ing a task we have to do from time to time in the notes-sec­tion for the recur­ring task in our dig­i­tal to-do-list tool

  • … or some­thing else

Do this
Through­out this week, if you feel like it, keep an eye out for sit­u­a­tions in which you would ben­e­fit from hav­ing a hyper­link, short­cut or oth­er ref­er­ence point to refer to. It could either be for your own per­son­al use or for oth­ers who keep ask­ing you where some­thing spe­cif­ic is located.

If you think of a place or sit­u­a­tion that could use a short­cut, cre­ate the short­cut right away or cre­ate a to-do-task telling you to do so, hence mak­ing sure you do not for­get to cre­ate it but keep the reminder in the same list as all your oth­er tasks.

Find it fast
If you use short­cuts, hyper­links and ref­er­ences you will give your­self more imme­di­ate access to things that are not actu­al­ly close at hand. You do not need to keep the same infor­ma­tion in sev­er­al places just to have it more read­i­ly avail­able and you will find what you are look­ing for faster with­out spend­ing unnec­es­sary time look­ing for it. If you let a lit­tle sign redi­rect you in your search, you will even­tu­al­ly learn where it is and look for it in the right place to begin with.

What is your way?
Where could you use a ref­er­ence, short­cut or hyper­link? Per­haps some­place which you have not thought of before? Share in the com­ment sec­tion below and help both me and oth­ers out with your ideas.