The blog

Previous article

Next article

28 Feb

Simply solve something small

Datum: 2024-02-28 08:34
A close-up of a dripping tap with water droplets.

Are only the more exten­sive struc­tur­al improve­ments worth your time and trou­ble? By this, I mean improve­ments such as how we are orga­nized, what IT-tools we are work­ing with, how we store doc­u­ments we share with oth­ers, or how the office is fur­nished for opti­mal cooperation.

Well, no. Not if you ask me.

For you who pre­fer lis­ten­ing to read­ing, this post is also avail­able as an episode of the Done!” pod­cast:

Let’s not make things worse 

Most peo­ple I meet have a lot hap­pen­ing around them, a lot to con­cen­trate on and many things to do. The last thing we need at times like these are small annoy­ances that both­er us, that we stum­ble on, that becomes the straw that brakes the camel’s back on days when we already feel that every­thing is stacked against us.

If we could just get rid of those small annoy­ing things that are the flies in the oint­ment”, we will have more ener­gy left to deal with the real chal­lenges that day.

A cable that keeps get­ting stuck

Let me give you two exam­ples of what I mean. 

  1. A cou­ple of years ago I struc­tured all the tools in my work­shop in a bet­ter way. Every item got a space of its own, and so I end­ed up with a space for every item. But, the L‑square was hang­ing at an angle on its nail. One might think that this is a mere tri­fle, but every time I saw the L‑square hang­ing at a slant I became irri­tat­ed. When I was about to grab the pli­ers hang­ing next to it, I always hit the L‑square which was intrud­ing on its space. A well-placed nail lat­er, and the L‑square was now hang­ing per­fect­ly in its place.
  2. When I trav­el I like to use noise-reduc­ing earplugs. I keep them in a case in my bag, but when I take out the earplugs they always get stuck in the short charg­ing cable to the active part of the earplugs, and it always falls out and ends up on the floor under the seat. I have to fol­low it down to see where it land­ed, which is some­thing I do not enjoy doing. The oth­er day I took a small doc­u­ment clip and fas­tened the cable inside the case with it, so now it will not fall out anymore.

None of the exam­ples con­cern vital aspects of my busi­ness, but nowa­days every time I see the L‑square or retrieve the earplugs I feel a sense of con­tent­ment — instead of get­ting irritated.

Our fam­i­ly often trav­els to Japan. Dur­ing our trips there, I am always fas­ci­nat­ed by all the tiny improve­ments and solu­tions to all kinds of every­day prob­lems I have stum­bled upon. For instance, there are mark­ings on the floor in the shops so that you will know how to best queue up for the cashier. A lit­tle sponge to wet your fin­gers with, hence mak­ing it eas­i­er to open the plas­tic bag to put your gro­ceries in (a solu­tion that per­haps is a bit out of the ques­tion in these post-pan­dem­ic times). A plas­tic case for wet umbrel­las in the shop entrance, and lots more. None of these solu­tions have improved anyone’s life fun­da­men­tal­ly, but every one of them makes life a lit­tle bit eas­i­er. And more enjoyable.

Do this

Dur­ing the day today, fix a tiny thing that has been both­er­ing you for a long time. It can be some­thing that is in your way, some­thing that you always get a scratch from, some­thing that always hits you in the head, some­thing you always have to coax with, some­thing that is loose or bro­ken and has to be replaced, or some­thing that is in the wrong place.

It may be small, but fix­ing it is def­i­nite­ly worth it.

More lee­way

If you solve these details that would oth­er­wise con­tin­ue to both­er you, it will be eas­i­er to focus on more impor­tant things and tasks. Instead of always encoun­ter­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, more tasks (even if they are small) will be eas­i­er to han­dle. Smooth instead of annoying.

How do you do it?

What small prob­lems will you solve? Tell me! I want to know! May I sug­gest you email me and share your first, spon­ta­neous idea of what to fix?

(Do you know what to fix, but you have a hard time get­ting it done? A com­mon verb will help you!)

There's more!

Blond woman commuting on a bus while listening to a podcast on her headphones. She is smiling.

If you want more tips on how to create good structure at work, there are many ways to get that from me - in podcasts, videos, books, talks and other formats.

Yes, I want more tips!