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23 May

Structure according to you

Datum: 2012-05-23 11:59

I am ful­ly aware that not all peo­ple are as devot­ed to the con­cept of struc­ture” as I am.

Once in a while I meet peo­ple who tell me that they find it dif­fi­cult to estab­lish a rela­tion­ship to the word struc­ture, and define what it means to them.

These peo­ple are often cre­ative in some way; they are either artists, graph­i­cal design­ers, musi­cians or belong to some oth­er cat­e­go­ry of cre­ative people.

Some say they fear that being more struc­tured would impede their cre­ativ­i­ty. Oth­ers believe that being increas­ing­ly struc­tured would require that they become less of what they are and place less empha­sis on fea­tures in their per­son­al­i­ty they like.

Anoth­er group of peo­ple who have dif­fi­cul­ties with the con­cept are the over­achiev­ing com­pet­i­tive peo­ple who claim being struc­tured would demand too much time spent administrating.

They do not believe they have time for structure”.

On the contrary

As I see it, struc­ture will have the oppo­site effect. By being more struc­tured in our dai­ly lives, we will have more time, ener­gy and even phys­i­cal space to be our­selves more, to cre­ate more, to sell more, or do what­ev­er it is we want to do.

And in order to feel com­fort­able work­ing with more struc­tured meth­ods, we need to adapt the con­cept and the meth­ods to fit our par­tic­u­lar per­son­al­i­ty and preferences.

We need to per­son­al­ize it since if we feel that we need to be less of what and who we are, and make our­selves and our lives fit into a small frame and frame­work where we are required to be just like every­body else, we will resist being struc­tured” best we can.

And I would to the same.
So, in this week’s edi­tion of Done! I want to present you with a few ideas of what you can adapt in your struc­tured work-meth­ods to make them com­ply with your per­son­al­i­ty, if you tend to feel reluc­tance when con­front­ed with the con­cept of structure.

Do this

  • If you have a cre­ative personality
    Make sure you always have struc­ture-tools and mate­ri­als you enjoy using. These could for instance be:
    • A notepad with the par­tic­u­lar qual­i­ty of paper you get inspired by writ­ing on
    • A pen you find absolute­ly per­fect; the right weight, how it bal­ances in your hand, the ink-col­or you pre­fer, the right thick­ness and so on
    • A col­or or nuance you like on the back­drop in the soft­ware you use to keep your to-do-list and project-overview
    • An exter­nal hard dri­ve for back-up mate­r­i­al in a design which coin­cides with the rest of your office, so that you feel com­fort­able hav­ing it on your desk where it is eas­i­ly available
    • A hang­ing-file cab­i­net which due to the great sound it makes when you pull out a draw­er is a plea­sure to open and close every time you need something
  • If you are a epi­cure­an (a per­son ori­ent­ed by pleasure)

    When you need to do some­thing you find bor­ing, tedious or rep­e­ti­tious that con­cerns struc­ture and order;

    • Lis­ten to music you love
    • Eat some­thing incred­i­bly good while doing it
    • Sit com­fort­ably (for instance out­side with the com­put­er on your lap, hud­dled on the couch amongst soft pil­lows, or in a cof­fee-shop where they serve great coffee)
    • Only do a lit­tle at a time and reward your­self gen­er­ous­ly for the few min­utes you man­aged to keep it in there
  • If you are a com­pet­i­tive type of person:

    • Make the struc­tured work into a game, a com­pe­ti­tion or a sport
    • Set up small, clear­ly defined chal­lenges you need to com­plete, after which you reward yourself
    • Mea­sure what you accom­plish (how many, how fast, how big, and so on) and make it visu­al using a diagram
    • Com­pare with the results from yes­ter­day and see how you make grad­ual improvements
    • Com­pete with a col­league and agree on a price for who­ev­er wins. Or, why not take it a step fur­ther and arrange a struc­ture-tour­na­ment where every­one at the office par­tic­i­pates and select the Mas­ter of Struc­ture in your depart­ment at the end of the year!

Get more of who and what you are

If you arrange your work­ing-meth­ods in a struc­tured but per­son­al way, you will soon get to expe­ri­ence the ben­e­fits of being more structured.

You will fin­ish more things ahead of dead­line rather than in the eleventh hour. You will to a greater extent be able to relax in what you are doing since you are cer­tain there are no un-fin­ished tasks you need to attend to, noth­ing you need to do instead of what you are doing right now.

You will be able to spend more time doing what you real­ly want to do since you now spend less time look­ing for things, re-doing some­thing you have already done or putting out fires” you could have avoid­ed with a bit of fore­sight and bet­ter structure.

What is your way?

How did you over­come your reluc­tance towards struc­ture? Feel free to leave a com­ment to let me know.