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01 Apr

Give yourself a good start tomorrow morning

Datum: 2014-04-01 11:40

Get­ting orga­nized and cre­at­ing a good struc­ture in your work is one thing; main­tain­ing it is some­thing entire­ly dif­fer­ent. The new work­ing method usu­al­ly works per­fect­ly for a few days or even for a few weeks. But, after that it is easy that the new­ly estab­lished habit begins to dete­ri­o­rate and instead of work­ing accord­ing to the method we have decid­ed we would fol­low, we slow­ly slip back into old habits and are soon back where we started.

The Dutch research-team Keiz­er, Lin­den­berg and Steg showed how dis­or­der tends to lead to more dis­or­der in their study on graf­fi­ti and van­dal­ism in urban envi­ron­ments (The Spread­ing of Dis­or­der”, Sci­ence 12 Decem­ber 2008:322 (5908), 1681 – 1685). My exten­sive field-expe­ri­ence tells me that their con­clu­sions are applic­a­ble to struc­ture as well, mean­ing how we orga­nize our work and work-places. If our struc­ture begins to dete­ri­o­rate in some way the dis­or­der tends to get worse and even­tu­al­ly it becomes dif­fi­cult to re-estab­lish order.

So, if our struc­ture can be in place and ready to go every morn­ing it is more like­ly that we main­tain it through­out our day. 

Leave the office the way you want to enter it in the morning
Many types of busi­ness­es employ some form of clos­ing-pro­ce­dure” which describes what to do right before leav­ing work in order to make the start of day eas­i­er for who­ev­er is first to open and get start­ed tomor­row. And this method is not only appro­pri­ate for those who work in a café, bar or shop, but also for those who return to an office every morn­ing and want to find it in an invit­ing and favor­able state.

To me this clos­ing-pro­ce­dure pri­mar­i­ly con­cerns leav­ing my desk in order. You see, I have noticed how I pri­or­i­tize bet­ter if I am sur­round­ed by as lit­tle clut­ter as pos­si­ble and clear desk-spaces. This way there is noth­ing dis­tract­ing me and I am not need­less­ly remind­ed of a task I need to do some­time lat­er, but not right now.

By fin­ish­ing your day con­scious­ly you can cre­ate the con­di­tions you need to main­tain your good struc­ture tomor­row as well.

Do this
Hence, cre­ate your own clos­ing-rou­tine today.

  1. Think of for exam­ple three things you do before you leave the office. These might for instance be:
    • Gath­er­ing all loose notes which have accu­mu­lat­ed on your desk and place them in your inbox, hence cre­at­ing more emp­ty space on your desk and mak­ing it eas­i­er to deal with the notes in the morning.
    • Put your work-tools, such as pen­cils, sta­pler, and so on, in their des­ig­nat­ed places.
    • Throw or store away any doc­u­ments or files which also have gath­ered on your desk or com­put­er desk­top through­out the day. If they sum up to more than a hand­ful it will be much eas­i­er to find them if you put them wher­ev­er you keep doc­u­ments regard­ing the same mat­ter or sub­ject in your ordi­nary storage-place.
    • Process the e‑mail inbox until it is empty.
    • Wash your cof­fee cup.
    • Pour out the water left in your carafe.
    • Take out the mate­r­i­al you know for cer­tain that you will want to get start­ed with first thing in the morning.
    • Erase every­thing on the whiteboard.
    • Deter­mine what to-do-task you def­i­nite­ly need to fin­ish tomorrow.
    • Or think of some­thing entire­ly dif­fer­ent that will give you a good start tomor­row morning.

  2. Think of a way to be remind­ed of your new rou­tine as every day comes to a close. Paste a note to remind your­self where you can­not miss it (On your screen? Desk? Door?) or cre­ate a recur­ring reminder in your dig­i­tal cal­en­dar where you have entered the check­list of what you have decid­ed to do before you leave the office.

Get in the habit of cre­at­ing good habits
If you make a habit out of end­ing your day in a way which will make you thank your­self in the morn­ing it will be much eas­i­er to main­tain the great struc­ture you have man­aged to estab­lish. The risk that you fall back into old tracks decreas­es and the like­li­hood that you will be able to enjoy the pos­i­tive effects of your new work­ing meth­ods increas­es. Instead of feel­ing drained the minute you step into your office in the morn­ing, you will feel inspired and ready to get going with today’s tasks.

What is your method?
How do you make sure you get to start every day on a pos­i­tive note? Don’t be shy. Share your thoughts in a comment.