Study a Process to Become a Streamlining Superstar

There aren’t many things in your life that you only do once. However, most of us don’t take the time to consider how we might streamline routine activities. For instance, how often do you:

  1. Sort the mail
  2. Do the laundry
  3. Go grocery shopping
  4. Pay bills
  5. Pack your bag for the next day’s activities

These activities are only the tip of the iceberg. Research shows that on average people spend one hour a day looking for stuff. Those little frustrations add up, and make the difference between a settled or scattered day.

We know there’s a better way, but we feel so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the little issues to solve, that we decide to ignore them. Or, we shrug our shoulders and figure this is just the way things are. We have no vision for how our days might go differently.

Now, imagine that you worked for Disneyland, and you were assigned to do a routine activity, such as help people board a ride, serve people lunch, or remove litter from the sidewalk. Would you do your job differently each time? Absolutely not. Not only would you have a system, you and your supervisor would have given thought to how you could not only make the task efficient and manageable, but you’d consider how you could add a little “magic.”

What if you used this approach in your daily life? What if you asked yourself: “How could I not only sort the mail more efficiently, but with a little magic?”

Try this:

  1. Choose one routine task you’d like to revise. Give yourself permission to choose one, even though you’re sure to have a number of options. Start with one, and use your success to move on to the next.
  2. Seek out an inspiring process to study. Many times, unusual connections can yield helpful results here. Rather than trying to find someone else who has the perfect mail-sorting routine, you might find inspiration in the way a Kindergarten teacher helps students organize take-home papers, or in the way a librarian sorts returned books.
  3. Identify the key steps of the process. If you’re a visual thinker, consider drawing a diagram.
  4. Consider why the process works. How might you apply the success of the process to your own task?
  5. Sketch or write up a template for your new process. Experiment and stay open to revision as you try out the new approach. Aim high. Don’t stop until you achieve inspiring results.
  6. Build on your success by working on a new task.

Writerly Play offers a framework for creative thinking. In each mental room, we tackle different thinking tasks. This activity is a tool for your Library, where we analyze resources, identify strategies for specific solutions and play with them until we make them our own.

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