Add structure to rise and shine

by | Jun 9, 2014 | Blog | 0 comments

Catfish Row“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.”

The song Summertime from the 1935 American Opera Porgy and Bess has new meaning for me now that I’m living in Charleston, SC where the story takes place.

Catfish Row (originally Cabbage Row) on Church Street is just about 4,000 steps from our home.

Due to the high heat and humidity here, the pace of life naturally slows in the summer.

Some of us though—regardless of where we live—still want to rise and shine during these summer months and get things done.

Good structure helps. Yes, some may view structure as a crutch. But look at in the positive sense, such as a tool for Porgy rather than as booze, pills and self-medication to avoid dealing with problems.

According to Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, one of the top 10 Most-Influential Business Thinkers in the World, we greatly underestimate the value of structure and self-discipline.

The more structure we have in our work day and personal life the more we–and our brain–can reserve our energy for the big rocks we want to move and carve.

With good structures in place, we won’t get as depleted by the stones we stumble on, the pebbles that get in our shoes and the sand that gums up our tools.

It’s easy to get discouraged by relatively little things as they can distract us and take disproportionate time to deal with and resolve.

As Dr. Goldsmith observes, “We don’t plan for the high probability of low probability distractions.”

And those aren’t even the distractions of our own making!

How do you stay accountability to yourself, your team and your leaders to get things done, especially as the dog days of summer are fast approaching?

Incorporate some or all of these into your work routine this summer:

  • Get an accountability partner. Recruit a peer to serve as each other’s accountability partner. Make commitments to each other and check in with each other at least weekly. (Dr. Goldsmith does this daily, which blows my mind every time I hear him talk about it.)
  • Use your smartphone. Program the timer to help you stay on track. For instance, set the alarm for 20 to 30 minutes to work uninterrupted. Then take a break. Or, if you find yourself often blurry-eyed and numb at your desk, set an alarm to force yourself to walk outdoors, look at the horizon and breathe fresh air. You also can use apps to provide you with more self-management. And make sure you note your vacation time and others’ time off so you can schedule around vacations and honor time away from work.
  • Adopt Tiny Habits for Work. Set aside a few minutes each day one work week to develop good habits for self-management. Besides adopting three good habits in five days, you’ll learn the valuable skill of habit development, based on Dr. BJ Fogg’s amazing Tiny Habits® methodology that I use in my coaching.

If you’re interested in Tiny Habits for Work, please join me for the next session starting Monday, June 16 and running through Friday, June 20. You’ll need to sign up by Friday, June 13 at Eventbrite.

To get the most out of the program, you’ll have to devote about 15 minutes on the pre-work before Monday. After that, you’ll spend just about five minutes or so each day to learn some life-changing skills.

As a certified Tiny Habits coach, I use all three of these structures: an accountability pal for weekly check-ins (seven years now), my smartphone and Tiny Habits for Work.

You can always benefit from structure even if your Daddy’s rich and your ma is good looking–as the song says.

What structure works best for you?


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