Little things that get in our way, wear us down. By creating a few glide paths in our day, we can jumpstart and maintain our momentum. Daily momentum is a key ingredient to making things happen.
Time management tips #5 is — reduce the friction in your day. Friction is the resistance we feel, when we go to do something. It might be extra steps in our process. It might be clutter that gets in our way. It might be the inconvenience of where we put things. All these little friction points add up.
The goal is to reduce the bottlenecks in your day, and give yourself a handful of friction-free experiences. For example, paths in your house should not be an obstacle course over laundry or toys. Your computer desktop should have fast access to your most common apps. You shouldn’t have to do awkward moves whether it’s reaching for shampoo, or getting a glass, or throwing out the garbage (and finding the garbage should not be a game of hide and go seek.)
Your key measure is how you feel, and whether you have to work too hard, to do something simple. The more you have to do something each day, the simpler you should make it.
Here are a few examples that have worked for me.
- I stuck my sneakers next to my bed, so I could waked up, throw my sneakers on, and hit my elliptical machine.
- I keep the path to my desk clear, so I can throw my bag down, slap my laptop into position, and hop on, in seconds.
- I keep a zero inbox, so when I check my mail, it’s only new stuff.
- I keep my desktop empty, so I always have a clutter-free experience.
- I made space on my shelves, so I can easily add books, without having to squish them in.
- I keep my vitamins lined up in a simple way, so I can grab and go.
- I keep notepad open, so I always have a fast dumping ground for ideas, tasks, or notes.
- I use sticky notes in my books, so that I can put them back on the shelf and quickly find my placeholders.
- I keep the space in front of my whiteboards clear, so it’s easy to huddle the team around the board on the fly.
- I double up on things if it helps to have them handy, such as a water bottle at work and home, a sticky pad at my desk, and in the car, etc.
If you get creative, you can find a lot of ways to simplify your daily moves and experiences. Some of the main ideas are:
- Allow for fast and simple moves.
- Have a place for things, so you can put things in their place.
- If something bugs you, see if you can deal with it. Don’t just let it bug you every day.
- Keep space available on your desk, on your shelves, on your bookcases, in your laptop bag, etc.
- Make your worst chores, the easiest things to do.
The mantra is … the more friction free you can be, the more momentum you can build. Don’t let things break your stride, and don’t let things slow you down.
In 30 Days of Getting Results, you can use the exercise and Reduce Friction and Create Glide-Paths for Your Day to get exponential results on a daily and weekly basis.
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