Being creatures of habits has its pros and cons, and I try to use both to my advantage. On the plus side, I know that habits are the most powerful force to help me get things done. I don’t have to think about going for a run, drinking enough water or getting writing done. My habits tend to pull me and serve me well. I can execute without expending a lot of mental and emotional energy.
However, life is always changing. There are new priorities and shifting demands. So, some of the things that I have set up as a structure, form or resource within reach may not be as important as it once was.
There is such a thing as obsolescence of a habit or of items that we once prioritized. Thus, as an added habit, I like to scan my systems, workflows and processes, just as I do for my business clients. I take an inventory of what I am using and have a sort of vigilance about discarding and sunsetting what doesn’t make sense in my world today.
This kind of process takes vigilance, but it is well worth it. Otherwise, I find the alternative a slow death in my productivity, happiness and execution. I can just let what I once built or integrated into my life remain without discretion. This only adds friction and underneath the surface, the real work suffers. Something is in the way.
One of the secrets to my ability to get a lot done is having vigilance around what to get rid of or throw away. I think of it as keeping myself ready.
What I find is that it’s hard to be objective. I become attached for some emotional reasons. I may have invested time into something that I am waiting on for a payback. I may have cherished something I built for someone else. There are a number of reasons that can creep in.
The hard part is taking the objective view and asking if what I have is relevant for the present and also the future. Can I replace it if there is a crisis? What is the probability there will be a crisis?
This goes for anything that sits on my desk, is in my periphery vision or have a login for. I try to run the hard question brutally through this sieve. The cost of managing something loosely or not at all is usually far higher than just getting rid of it.
Thus, I am always purging.
Freedom and Readiness
But the reward is that if I can continually minimize and stay lean and if I can remain honest with myself, then the agility affords me freedom and readiness. I don’t have to manage as much. I am ready for the unknown that is coming or at least am open to new opportunities because I can see more clearly.
The long and short of it is that continually trying to keep things simple has a huge impact on my productivity and vision. While everyone else is stumbling to get things done or even get out of the gates, my plate is clear. I can react. I can act if need be.
I am not sure the best strategy for productivity and success is preparedness. We can always buy or get stuff we need. In a world where we have an immense amount of resources, it is more about staying clear and being ready.
So, here’s the challenge – try making life easier for yourself continually. Keep discarding and eliminating both physical and virtual things. It will impact your leadership and results in ways you may not even be aware of. Keeping a sharp and ready mind is critical in the fast moving and nebulous world.
What would hold you back?