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21 Mar

Kill your (former) darlings

Datum: 2018-03-21 20:23

When we improve our struc­ture, we cre­ate new things. We begin using a new app instead of the one we have used thus far, we cre­ate new labels or cat­e­gories to cat­e­go­rize our to-do-tasks by, we invent a whole new fold­er-struc­ture to save emails or doc­u­ments in, we change a rou­tine and update the check­list we use as a cheat-sheet to remem­ber how the new pro­ce­dure goes, or we leave a web ser­vice that has not real­ly served us to try a new one that seems to work better.

Let the new have the low­est threshold
From now on we want to do things dif­fer­ent­ly — we want to act in a way we believe will ulti­mate­ly be bet­ter. If we are to be suc­cess­ful in mak­ing a switch, the new method need to be the eas­i­est one to choose when we have a busy day, and the risk of going back to our old ways increas­es, since old habits die hard.

If you when that day comes still have the old way or thing eas­i­ly avail­able, it might be too tempt­ing and dis­tract you from the new path you have decid­ed to take. You should there­fore kill, or at least hide, your for­mer dar­lings (mean­ing, your for­mer favorite tools that have sup­port­ed you in your dai­ly work) since their time to go has come: Unin­stall the old app, remove the old cat­e­gories so that they are no longer an option, bury the old fold­er struc­ture deep in an archive-fold­er, take the old check­list off the wall and put up the new one in its place, remove the short­cut to the old webb ser­vice and place the new one on your com­put­er desk­top instead.

I have recent­ly dis­man­tled an old rou­tine myself — I used to dis­trib­ute infor­ma­tion auto­mat­i­cal­ly to a num­ber of indi­vid­u­als with the help of a few fold­ers, the app Hazel and the sweet Automa­tor-robot in OS X. The same data is now dis­trib­uted com­plete­ly auto­mat­i­cal­ly via cloud ser­vices, yet the old scripts and fold­ers were left in their old places long after their time was up. But now they are final­ly gone.

Do this
If you want to make it as easy as pos­si­ble to main­tain your refined struc­ture, do the fol­low­ing right now:

  1. Take a few min­utes to reflect on what ser­vices, rou­tines or pro­grams you recent­ly stopped using due to find­ing some­thing new to use instead or think­ing of a new way to do some­thing in.

  2. Do you still have the old ver­sion of the tool, fold­er, ser­vice or what­ev­er it was?

  3. If you do, remove it, so that it is from now on no longer an option when you are work­ing. You can either throw it out com­plete­ly or hide it, so that you still have it some­where, but out of view.

Eas­i­er to get it right
If you rearrange, throw away or at least hide the old, it will become eas­i­er to adapt and get used to the new. When you are about to do some­thing, the nat­ur­al choice will be to choose the new method, path or ser­vice (since it is the one that is eas­i­ly avail­able and vis­i­ble). If you make the new thing the eas­i­est thing to choose, chances are you will ben­e­fit from hav­ing refined your struc­ture to a greater extent.

What dar­lings have you got­ten rid of?
What have you recent­ly left behind, got­ten, or start­ed with instead of some­thing else, in terms of your struc­ture? Write a com­ment and share.