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20 May

Saving time is great, but …

Datum: 2015-05-20 12:00

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.

Do this

  1. 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?

  2. 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

  3. 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.