That’s how it’s always been done

Photo courtesy of Damian Gadal (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Damian Gadal (Creative Commons)

How many times do we do something because that’s the way it’s always been done? Do you rock the boat?

I am working on a project at work in which we are seeking ways to simplify some of our processes. There is a lot of paperwork involved in this particular area, and quite a bit of duplication, which of course becomes a training issue as new people come on board. It’s difficult to teach them to put the same information in 2 and 3 and 4 places. And why?

In examining each of the steps, we are realizing that there might have been a reason to do that years ago, but now, it doesn’t serve a purpose. We do not refer back to it, we have other ways to capture it, and it’s redundant. So we are taking those steps out.

This exercise is making me examine my own life and ways I do things too. What things do I do because I’ve always done them but they no longer serve a purpose?

And a very important question – is that part of why I feel so busy and overwhelmed all the time?

Since this is my year to be brave (check out Chris Brogan’s Brave New Year course [affiliate link] if you want to be brave too), I am pulling out all the stops. It’s time to re-examine all the parts of my life and see what needs to be improved.

While taking the course, I have realized that I struggle with permission – giving myself permission to dream, achieve and be what I want to be. So right here and now, I give myself permission to toss out anything that isn’t working, and start fresh!

The end result will be a stronger, happier, braver me.

I suppose it is akin to clearing out clutter, but a lot of it is not physical clutter. Old ideas, old attitudes, and ways of thinking about things must be examined. Maybe there are some ways to streamline what I’m doing and free up time for reading or writing. Perhaps there are some tools that will make me more productive.

So as I move through this process, here are some things to consider along the way:

  • Habits: are my habits healthy, and do they serve me well? One thing I realized lately is that I was in the habit of having a snack every morning about 10:30 am. Not that I was hungry necessarily, but that it was 10:30 and time for my snack. Guess what? I cut that out and haven’t starved, and those are calories I can either eliminate or have another time when I really am hungry.
  • Procrastination: I am bad about waiting for the “perfect” time to do things, which then causes me to worry or fret over things for much longer than I should. That’s precious mental energy that could be spent on more positive things. An example? Making appointments for doctor checkups. I put it off and put it off and then can’t get in when I want to. And usually when I finally do call (in what I anticipate to take hours), it takes just a few minutes.
  • Positive attitudes: I want to surround myself with positive people, and spend less time around those who are negative and complaining.
  • Self-talk: I will develop a more positive script for myself. One little thing that has been huge is to declare that “I am a writer!” What a difference that has made! I need to do that in other areas of my life – give myself permission to BE who I am.
  • Mental clutter: Write it down. This one is simple. Instead of keeping crazy lists of what I need to get done in my head, I need to follow productivity guru David Allen’s advice in Getting Things Done and write it down. Get it out of my head, and onto meaningful lists, and free up my “psychic RAM” for more important things like writing, generating ideas, and focused work.

None of this is new. None of this is earth shattering. But it’s all simple, practical steps that I need to be reminded of frequently (evidently).

What about you? Are there things in your life that need to be cleaned up?

2 thoughts on “That’s how it’s always been done

  1. Carol
    this is a great article! So true not only for you but probably everyone whether we want to admit it or not. I miss doing data entry with you all at Graceworks, have to get that schedue again if you need me. Appreciate this, I needed it! Thanks!

    • Thanks Cathy. Hope you are doing well. I will keep you in mind when we have open shifts again. Thanks for stopping by!

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