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21 Mar

Think ”less”

Datum: 2012-03-21 11:00

Since I spend my days think­ing and speak­ing about struc­ture, I have noticed that a few themes are more recur­ring in the whole sub­ject of struc­ture than others. 

They are themes which seem to per­me­ate the work­ing meth­ods of those who most suc­cess­ful­ly keep track of things and who by doing so have more time to do oth­er things. 

One of these themes is scarcity. 

In lack of a bet­ter expres­sion, by scarci­ty” I mean that there is a small amount of some­thing rather than too much of it. 

It is not about liv­ing a min­i­mal­is­tic or scanty lifestyle with noth­ing but emp­ty spaces, but rather that hav­ing less of one thing makes it pos­si­ble to have some­thing else in abundance. 

Some­times you need to be able to spread your­self and your papers out freely in order to work on the task you are focus­ing on at the moment. When doing so, you need to have less of oth­er mate­r­i­al which does not con­cern your par­tic­u­lar task, on your desk. Why? Because abun­dance of every­thing only leads to chaos.

So when­ev­er you feel that it is just too much” – think less”.

Less of what?

So what can and should we then have less of in order to make our lives easier? 
Here are some ideas:

  • Meet­ings – If you tend to spend your days in meet­ings and your nights catch­ing up with all the work you should have got­ten done dur­ing the day, think about which meet­ings you could with­out fur­ther reper­cus­sions can­cel, which meet­ings that do not need your pres­ence, which you could post­pone for a month, and which are work-meet­ings that might as well be replaced by that each and every­one does their part of the project or task and then check in with every­one else.
  • Places – If you spend too much time look­ing for doc­u­ments and papers you put away at some point, think about which of the sev­er­al places you store infor­ma­tion in that you could get rid of in order to com­bine the places into a sin­gle loca­tion. Do you real­ly need to have both mag­a­zine file hold­ers, inbox­es, piles and binders? 
    If you also tend to make note of what you have to do in sev­er­al places, try to fig­ure out what could serve as the best sin­gle loca­tion to keep all your to-do-tasks in.
  • Ways of com­mu­ni­cat­ing – If you com­mu­ni­cate in many dif­fer­ent ways in your project-group, such as by e‑mailing, online chat­ting, using Skype, call­ing each oth­er, have meet­ings, dis­cuss while hav­ing cof­fee, brain­storm­ing when you trav­el togeth­er, com­mu­ni­cate through your project-tool, and so on, and you feel that it is dif­fi­cult to get your heads around all the dif­fer­ent thoughts and ideas, try deter­min­ing what your pri­ma­ry means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion should be. 
    Direct all con­ver­sa­tions, deci­sions and ideas which emerge in oth­er forums than the pri­ma­ry ones, into your cho­sen means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and your doc­u­men­ta­tion and man­ag­ing of the project will run a whole lot smoother.
  • Dif­fer­ent ver­sions of process­es – If you tend to give ser­vice to dif­fer­ent clients in dif­fer­ent ways so that each rela­tion­ship with a cus­tomer gets its own, unique solu­tions, try giv­ing more clients sim­i­lar treat­ments. Make an active deci­sion on how you want the process of sup­ply­ing ser­vice X to be from start to fin­ish, and cre­ate out­lines and check­lists which will aid you in work­ing faster and with less effort.
  • Piles and things on your desk – If your desk is clut­tered with so much irrel­e­vant stuff that you get dis­tract­ed from what you are work­ing on every time you look up from your work, make an effort to at least get rid of one pile. 
    Set aside an hour this after­noon to go through the pile, throw away what you can, do the to-do-tasks which might emerge from you pro­cess­ing the pile and save what you might actu­al­ly need lat­er on (but make sure not to just put it at the top” of anoth­er pile).

Less gives your more focus

If you think less” and act accord­ing­ly, you will find it eas­i­er to focus on the right thing at the right time. You will fin­ish a greater amount of your tasks in less time and find the mate­r­i­al you are look­ing for faster. 

Per­haps it is just me, but the emp­ty space, the emp­ty inbox and hav­ing the day free from meet­ings reduces my stress sig­nif­i­cant­ly. Wouldn’t you agree? 

What have you done?

What have you made sure to have less of than you pre­vi­ous­ly had? And what effect has that had on your dai­ly life? Enlight­en us! Leave a comment!