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.
If you want to make it as easy as possible to maintain your refined structure, do the following right now:
- 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.
- Do you still have the old version of the tool, folder, service or whatever it was?
- 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.