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quote from steve frank

Less Structured. More Productive.

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines structure as something arranged in a definite pattern or organization; something that is constructed.

Applying that to our lives, structures are the systems we use to move through the day efficiently-both professionally and personally. Structures help to form habits that can serve us well as we strive to increase productivity.
But, what happens when we trade just one letter to change structures to structured. Structures and structured are so similar in spelling, yet so far apart in terms of how we can apply them to our lives and to our work. It’s amazing just how much of a difference one small letter can make.

Structures can be anything we put into place in our lives to help improve our overall state of well-being and to help us accomplish tasks. Structures are more than just physical or mental constructs. They are a way of thinking unto themselves. Structures are tools that you can draw upon to help with anything that life throws your way. Like using a knife only when you need to cut something, structures can be brought into your life as needed.

Does your office ever get too messy? Go ahead, raise your hand and admit it. It’s safe. No one can see you. If your office is cluttered and the unorganized mess is getting to you, a new cabinet, set of shelves or organizing bins can be a physical structure you use to de-clutter. Or, you may decide to put “organize office 2x/week for 15 minutes” on your to-do list until your office meets your organizational goals. After that, you might only have that item on your To-Do list as necessary.

Structured is much more rigid. A structured way of thinking leads you from one step straight to another, and it doesn’t often leave room for change, or for creativity. Structured thinking can lack a certain fluidity or spontaneity. Continuing with the messy office example, a structured way of dealing with your office clutter is to clean your office every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. A structured routine is there regardless of the situation and what might be going on in your life at that particular time, which can easily lead to increased levels of stress.

When we draw upon the structures in our “toolbox” as needed rather than making sure that every thing we do is structured, we can and will lower our stress levels and increase productivity.

Are you using the structures in your toolbox? Tweet That!

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