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13 Feb

Make it an even better year

Datum: 2017-02-13 15:45

Today is a new day. This year is not like the last. Even if time some­times appear to be an illu­sion, we can regard this turn of the year as a tran­si­tion into some­thing new — a new chap­ter, that begins with a new, white page.

A new year is an excel­lent time to make changes. Every new day also con­sti­tutes a fresh oppor­tu­ni­ty to make a change, but per­son­al­ly I always expe­ri­ence the new year as par­tic­u­lar­ly new” since I am remind­ing of that it is a new year every time I write 2017” instead of 2016”.

And in the first part to the year, we have a great win­dow of oppor­tu­ni­ty to make this year a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than the last, slight­ly bet­ter hope­ful­ly, and make changes when it comes to our struc­ture as well.

Not real­ly a blank page, though …
We might think of the new years as a clean slate”, but I am guess­ing that your agen­da has already been filled with quite a num­ber of appoint­ments for the next few months. The space for improve­ments is in actu­al­ly hard­ly greater than it was before the turn of the year. Let us there­fore assume a rea­son­able lev­el of ambi­tion rather than change every­thing we wish to improve at once, and only choose one thing to aim your ambi­tion to improve on with regards to struc­ture in the next while ahead.

Try this
If you should want to;

  1. Take a moment to rec­ol­lect the things that have not been quite to your lik­ing dur­ing the past year. Did your work­ing meth­ods not always mea­sure up? Did you have too much of some­thing? Not enough of some­thing else? Too many emails? Too much to do? Too many projects active simul­ta­ne­ous­ly? Not enough time alone? Not enough inspi­ra­tion and new influ­ences? Per­haps not enough new chal­lenges that inspired you? Too many dis­tract­ing papers and piles on your desk? Too many reminders from oth­ers regard­ing all kinds of details, tasks and projects?

  2. Now choose only one thing that you wish to improve upon. If you are not sure what to choose, pick the first thing that springs to mind, even if it might not appear to be the most opti­mal aspect you might alter and adjust.

  3. For­mu­late the improve­ment you wish to make in terms of some­thing you want to suc­ceed with reg­u­lar­ly. It might for instance be:
    • Work­ing unin­ter­rupt­ed for an hour every day.
    • Process the email inbox until it is com­plete­ly emp­ty every Friday.
    • Try­ing some­thing new or doing some­thing in a new way some time every month.
    • Attend­ing only three meet­ings or less every day.
    • Leave an emp­ty desk every afternoon.
    • Ask for help with some­thing at least once a day.
    • Or, some­thing else that is impor­tant to you and rel­e­vant to your work.

  4. In order to estab­lish the new habit that will make your year bet­ter than the last, try the come­di­an Jer­ry Seinfeld’s method. He told anoth­er come­di­an a few years ago that he writes every day. Since he some­times feels reluc­tant to, he moti­vates him­self to do it any­way by cross­ing off a day in a cal­en­dar after hav­ing done his dai­ly writ­ing. After a streak of a few days he can by glanc­ing at his cal­en­dar see clear­ly that he has suc­cess­ful­ly writ­ten in spite of the ini­tial reluc­tance. The longer this streak or chain of suc­cess becomes, the more moti­vat­ed he gets to write yet anoth­er day, since it becomes hard­er to jus­ti­fy break­ing such a beau­ti­ful and long streak of small vic­to­ries. Jer­ry Sein­feld cross­es off days on an ordi­nary wall-cal­en­dar. You can either do the same, or you could write an entry say­ing Did it!” in your dig­i­tal cal­en­dar every day after hav­ing com­plet­ed what­ev­er it is you want to do.

    Or, do as I and use an estab­lish­ing-habits-app in your smart­phone, such as Strides (iOS) or Habit Streak (Android).

  5. As you con­tin­u­ous­ly repeat what you are not yet used to over and over again, it will even­tu­al­ly turn into a habit, and your struc­ture will improve in terms of what­ev­er func­tion the new habit has. If you feel up to refin­ing and improv­ing more habits, choose anoth­er one and repeat the process.

Slow­ly but surely
If you choose one thing you want to focus on improv­ing this year, the chances increase that you will be suc­cess­ful since you are keep­ing your ambi­tion at a rea­son­able and real­is­tic lev­el. You sober­ly take the actu­al time and ener­gy you have at your dis­pos­al into account, and you are hence more like­ly to suc­ceed. The risk that you fall off the wag­on in a while from now due to not tak­ing a real­is­tic approach decreas­es, and you will get to cel­e­brate the pleas­ant lit­tle vic­to­ry of estab­lish­ing a habit that will sup­port and aid you in your work every day.

What do you wish to improve?
Which habit or aspect of your struc­ture do you pri­mar­i­ly wish to improve or refine through­out this year? Let me and oth­er read­ers know in a comment. 

Want more ideas?
Do you want more ideas on how to become more pro­duc­tive? British EHS soft­ware com­pa­ny Geni­log­ic put togeth­er this list con­tain­ing 13 ways to increase busi­ness pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, with a wider scope than what you are used to find­ing here at the Struc­ture Blog.