You know the one about eating an elephant?
One bite at a time.
There’s a trick to change management in the workplace.
We search out a new formula, or system, and in our enthusiasm, try to apply the whole thing, all at once.
There’s too much to learn and do normal work at the same time. So people burn out, begin to hate the new system, resist it, and it all goes to custard.
I knew this, and yet I was doing the exact same thing at home.
Find the one thing, the one small daily routine that will make a significant difference. And use the new system for that.
And only that.
To try it out, on one small change, and watch it. See what happens.
Does it make things better? Or does it make them worse?
Test it. Be sceptical. Apply it daily for a week, and take a note of any results.
Don’t let someone come in and say “What you need is this Brand New System, which we can sell you at a fabulous price, and not only will you get blue widgets, but the next version has an anti-gravity button and can teleport!”
Don’t buy one more diary or process or management course.
Think to yourself: “What one thing can I do to make life a little bit easier and more elegant, more gracious, for myself?”
Here’s an example.
I used to get up in the morning and yell at the kids to get dressed, while I ran around in a towel and tried to find a pair of pantyhose without a hole. And then discovered that the hem had come down on my skirt. We’d end up with a drive-through breakfast.
The One Thing that I started with was this.
The night before, I’d check the weather forecast for the next day. Then pick up a coat hanger, and on the hanger put every item of an outfit.
Everything. Pantyhose, knickers, bra, top, skirt, scarf, jacket. The lot. And pick out shoes.
Then, put the whole thing in the bathroom, with the shoes sitting underneath. I hung it on one of those heavy-duty stick-on hooks that don’t leave a mark. And the next morning, jump out of bed, into the shower. And emerge completely dressed. Ready to go.
I thought of it as going into the bathroom as “Oh, dear.” And coming out as “Ooh, la la!”
Too simple? Try it and see. This tiny, two-minute idea, that’s actually quite fun to do, has an amazing result. A cascade effect.
And test it. Challenge it. Don’t believe what I’m saying.
Begin with your own feelings. How does it feel different if you do this? Do you like it? What effect does it have on your morning routine?
How do you feel at work?
Do your kids say anything to you?
Please tell me about it. I’d love to hear your stories.