When I meet with managers and other decision-makers in the organizations I hope will become my clients, it comes naturally to talk in terms of efficiency. I describe how being structured and having structured working-methods help us do more in less time and hence gives us more time for what matters most.
I tell them about the number of hours my clients say that they on average save every week after applying my tips on how to become more structured. We extrapolate and translate the time saved into what it would mean for the business as a whole.
… most often other effects are more prominent
So far so good. But, when I receive e‑mails from my readers or participants from courses I have given, they rarely mention the time they have gained. Instead they frequently describe how their lives are now after their structure has improved, and how it feels easier and better to leave the office at the end of the day even if not every item has been checked off the to-do-list.
They tell me about how they are now able to take time off without having a bad conscience. About the wonderful feeling of crossing things off the to-do-list, going through their work-day feeling lighter and how they experience that having good structure has helped them cleaning things out, both physically and mentally.
Feeling better increases the value of the improvements
I can definitely recognize and identify with their stories, and I see more and more of how the greatest value of good structure is that we feel safe, that our work-day feels better, that we are relieved of stress and feel more free to focus on what we really want to do.
This most likely results in that we accomplish more and work better in a more comfortable and pleasant way, which naturally benefits both ourselves and the business as a whole.
Rather than thinking about how we can gain more time, let us create better structure and enjoy feeling better in general.
- Take a moment to think about what troubles and worries you at work? What would be nice to not have to worry about? What would you like to get off your mind? Do you have a bad conscience about something? What lies heavy on your shoulders?
- Find something concrete you can do about it so that your life again feels easier and lighter, better and safer.
You could for instance apply a structure-tip such as:
- Gather things in fewer locations
- Take a really small step
- Create a template
- Make a checklist
- Agree with your colleagues on doing something a certain way
- Draw or map out the process
- Find the root of the problem by asking yourself five subsequent ”Why?”s
- Schedule a recurring time in the calendar
- Set an alarm
- Categorize it so that it sticks out from everything else
- Make something physical out of what is now digital
- Digitalize what is now in physical form
- Make a plan
- Determine to do something every week
- Or, do something else
- If you do not make the change immediately, add the first step you intend to take in order to shift your approach to what has been bothering you to your to-do-list.
Shift the burden onto your structure
Few things are as liberating as suddenly not having to worry about something that has been on our mind for a long time. If we allow our structure to take responsibility of whatever it was, we will have more space and energy for what we truly care about, the tasks which constitute the reason why we chose to work with what we do and why we like it so much.
What did you do?
If you feel like it, please e‑mail me and tell me what you decided you would do after reading the suggestions above. All ideas on how we can improve our structure are always welcome, so feel free to write a comment and share your findings.