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27 Mar

It is the small, small details that do it


Datum: 2014-03-27 10:29

When we get start­ed on cre­at­ing a bet­ter struc­ture at work since we want to make our life smoother and eas­i­er, it is easy to think that we have to make big and dras­tic changes in order to notice a dif­fer­ence and achieve an effect. We think we need to clean out the entire office, struc­ture absolute­ly every­thing or get all nec­es­sary and lat­est gad­gets. The result of com­ing at chang­ing our struc­ture from this angle is usu­al­ly that it appears over­whelm­ing and we give up before we have even started.

But, I who work with this (and only this) every day have time after time seen that it is not in the big attempts to alter your sit­u­a­tion, but in the details, where true change lies. We might have tak­en the right steps accord­ing to how we know we should struc­ture our struc­ture, so to say, but still keep falling back into the same traps and tracks over and over again due to the deceiv­ing­ly sim­ple rea­son that we are miss­ing one small, yet cru­cial, detail.

The beau­ty is that if we only man­age not to fall into those detail-traps, we will gain a lot in terms of get­ting our struc­ture in place and will expe­ri­ence a big dif­fer­ence in our every­day lives com­pared to before.

Six small details
So, allow me to share six details which are deci­sive to if your struc­ture holds firm or not.

  1. How easy it is to be remind­ed of your indi­vid­ual busi­ness- or work-relat­ed goals through­out your work-day.

    In oth­er words, how quick­ly and eas­i­ly are you able to see what goals you are respon­si­ble for attain­ing at the moment? Is it enough for you to just raise your eyes to see them since they are past­ed on the wall in front of you? Are they just a click away or do you need to click your way through sev­er­al files and fold­ers before find­ing them? If your goals are not vivid­ly present in your work-day (visu­al­ly or with a nat­ur­al pres­ence in your mind) it will be dif­fi­cult for you to use pri­or­i­tiz­ing-tools such as the clas­sic urgen­t/im­por­tant-matrix and my refin­ing-tem­plate (which I have writ­ten about in a pre­vi­ous edi­tion of Done!).

  2. How eas­i­ly acces­si­ble your to-do-list is

    If you need to look for, skim through, log in or wait for the to-do-list you will soon start writ­ing what you have to do in more eas­i­ly acces­si­ble places. And before you know it you again have your to-do-list in sev­er­al places even though you had deter­mined to only keep it in one.

  3. If we take the time to for­mu­late to-do-tasks as con­crete­ly and explic­it as pos­si­ble or not

    This is an easy one to do slop­pi­ly, for exam­ple by writ­ing an abbre­vi­a­tion or describe tasks using texts that do not accu­rate­ly describe what we are going to do since we think that we know what we are refer­ring to any­way. But, we might know what we mean right now, as we are writ­ing the task down. But lat­er, when we are about to do what we need to get done, we will have to think about what we meant by our pre­vi­ous scrib­bles and abbre­vi­a­tions. We then have to spend time remind­ing our­selves or even re-read the e‑mail the task was derived from again in order to under­stand what we actu­al­ly decid­ed to take action on.

  4. If we set the due-date ran­dom­ly or not

    If we set a due-date for a to-do-task with­out it actu­al­ly being nec­es­sary, we might end up with hav­ing a delayed” to-do-list which is high­light­ed in red in our dig­i­tal to-do-list too soon and for noth­ing. If we dare to not set a due-date know­ing that we will fin­ish today’s tasks soon­er than we think, we will feel and be freer to choose what to do at any giv­en moment.

  5. If we have pre­pared stor­age-spaces (prefer­ably few) for all papers and doc­u­ments which might end up on our desks

    When we do not have an obvi­ous place to put the mate­r­i­al we receive and have to keep, we will sim­ply put it wher­ev­er there is room, which tends to become piles on our desk.

  6. Deter­mine …

    … when the cal­en­dar is full and you do not have time for more meet­ings and appoint­ments this week, when we make our­selves avail­able for oth­ers, when we check our e‑mail, and what projects we will keep active and which we will set on hold.

A small step for you, a big step for your structure
If you make sure to keep the details above under con­trol, you will cre­ate true super-struc­ture in your work-day much eas­i­er than most people.
You get to enjoy the full effect of hav­ing the most recent app, project-tool or a neat and tidy tasks-func­tion in Out­look since you do not get stuck in a small, yet deci­sive, detail.

Any­thing else?
Have I for­got­ten a detail that is cru­cial to mak­ing your struc­ture work? Please share in a com­ment below.

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