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Why you need a Weekly Reset

Why you need a Weekly Reset

How many times have you said the following to yourself? “I can’t wait for vacation to start so I can reset, refresh and get going again.” Or perhaps… “I wish I had a vacation coming up so I could reset, clear my mind and refocus” And while thinking about how much you need a reset and a vacation, the actual time between now and your actual vacation keeps growing so much that we keep building up this event so we can rest, rethink our priorities and re-energize.

If we come back from our vacation rejuvenated, the reset was a success, if we don’t the reset was not long enough – we didn’t have enough time on our vacation to accomplish all that we wanted to do.  And/or if we come back totally stressed out, we blame it on doing too much on the vacation, instead of resting

But all of this could not be further from the truth because the problem is not what you are doing to reset, but rather the frequency of the reset itself. No matter the long hours you are working, the project deadlines and deliverables, you need to have an ongoing, consistent reset that has the potential to replenish your spirit – physically, emotionally and spiritually. That’s a tall order, but not impossible.

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There are a number of paths a weekly reset can take – they don’t all need to be sweat inducing marathons of yoga or deep introspective reading but they should be enough to free your mind and disengage it from your day-to-day so it forces you to focus solely on the task at hand.

Physical

Exercise is a great reset because it jumbles all the chemicals in your body and forces you to focus on the next task at hand – that next run, those next barbells, that last push-up – primarily because if you fall or drop a dumbell, it is going to hurt.

But even when you have such a dedicated focus on the task at hand, your mind wanders from your problems at hand to focussing on the pain in your knee (how can you make it better) or the sore muscles in your shoulder (which feel good) as your mind leaves the results of the last meeting behind you.

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I have never practiced yoga but have watched as many people eagerly attend sessions that let them focus on balance and stretching for an hour or more – leaving the room energized, motivated and refreshed. For awhile I was doing a lot of swimming and found this a great way to relax and refresh. Thinking of work problems stopped when I swam repetivive laps back and forth for an hour.

Mental

Reading a book in a genre you have never read before or writing about a topic that you have no knowledge or experience writing in are great ways to reset your mind to other problems and learn something new at the same time. Think back to when you wanted to build that backyard deck and you had to buy all those books to learn what to do. You’d read, spend time drawing it out, looking at what other people had done and learning. You might not have known it at the time, but you gave yourself a mental reset.

Spiritual

Without going into religion or faith, we all need to replenish and reset our spirit as often as we can. What that means to anyone can be very different – some people welcome and enjoy the company of others, feeding off their energy as a community to feel replenished while others prefer the solidarity of being left to their own thoughts while they watch the wind blow through the trees.

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There is no magic answer except for understanding and becoming aware that this level of reset is important for you to re-evaluate who you are and where you are going. It is not easy and generally involves us asking ourselves some hard questions about ourselves. And when do we generally have time to do this? When on vacation, when we can think and ponder on actions and decisions we have taken.

A reset can be anything but watching TV on your device of choice, is not a reset, instead, it’s more or less of a middle ground where you watch what is happening, but you drift to picking up your phone, reading that book or doing something else. It doesn’t require your focus and doesn’t leave you feeling replenished. TV can be great for relaxation and enjoyment but not as a reset.

And therein lies the key to any reset, it must pull in your focus 100% to the task at hand. I have found time over time that the best resets are the ones that thrust us out of our known comfort zone. Something that we are not familiar with, that requires 100% of your focus because you can’t waiver. This is why vacations are such a great reset because we go somewhere new, try something different, enjoy a new type of cuisine, the list is endless of all the “new” things we do that take us outside of our comfort zone.

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Think back to how refreshed and energized you felt when you came back from your last vacation, now step back and think to where and how you commit to getting that feeling every week, those fresh eyes and worldview and how they would benefit not only the problems you are working on but the problems your team and others are working on and how much better a position you would be in to help them out.

Featured photo credit: VFS Digital Design via imcreator.com

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Greg Thomas

Software Architect

Successful People Aren’t Luckier Than Everybody Else, They Just Know How to Make Good Decisions To Be a Better Person, We Need to Go Through 5 Stages of Changes Bad Bosses Bark Out Orders, Good Bosses Coach Their Teams Your Routine is the Key to Achieving Your Goals Why you need a Weekly Reset

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

There are several perspectives on the term systems thinking. The discipline goes beyond a collection of tools and techniques. A lot of individuals are fascinated by tools like brainstorming tools, structural thinking tools, dynamic thinking tools, as well as computer-based tools. They believe the system thinking tools can make them smarter and productive. However, it goes beyond that as systems thinking is more strategic and sensitive to the environment we find ourselves.

So what is systems thinking and why is it good for you?

What Is Systems Thinking?

Systems thinking is a diagnostic tool that can help you to assess problems before taking action. It helps you to ask questions before arriving at conclusions. It prevents you from making an assumption, which is the lowest level of knowledge.

A systems thinker is curious, compassionate, and courageous. The systems thinking approach incorporates the act of seeing the big picture instead of seeing in parts. It recognizes that we are connected, and there are diverse ways to solve a problem.

Characteristics of Systems Thinking

Systems thinking can help you in analyzing the connections between subsystems and understanding their potentials to make smarter decisions.

In a soccer team, the elements are the coach, players, the field, and a ball. The interrelationships are strategies, communications among players, and game rules. The goal is to win, have fun and exercise. We all belong to several systems and subsystems.

Some characteristics of systems thinking include:

  • Issue is important
  • The issue is familiar with well-known patterns
  • Attempts have been made to resolve the issue.

Given these characteristics, systems thinking goes beyond an operational tool; it is a strategic approach and a philosophy.

How to Use Systems Thinking

Here’re 3 ways you can use systems thinking:

1. Understand How the System Works and Use Feedback Points

The first task is to know what system is all about and identify the leverage points or feedbacks that influence its functioning. This is what will help in adjusting the system.

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If you want the system to be productive, enhance the feedback points. If you want it to be less productive, exhaust the same points.

A good example is that of a bathtub. The leverage points are the faucet and the drain. If you forget to close the drain, having turned on the water, the water will never stop flowing, and the tub will never overflow.

If you want more water, close the drain while you turn the water. If otherwise, turn the faucet off and open the drain. You can apply this to your personal development.

Once you discover the feedback points in your life, find your leverage or feedback points, then enhance those points. If you want to be fit, get a trainer, find a mentor, or eat healthy foods.

2. Discover the Patterns, Structure, and Events

Trends and patterns could be compared to clues for a crossword puzzle. As you aspire to enhance the system, trends and patterns offer you hints and cause to shift your paradigm. Usually, they can direct you to unusual and unexpected aspects, to ideas, people, or places you have never thought about.

Smart people watch out for trends and patterns so they can be conversant with changes.

You can view the world from 3 different perspectives:

i. The Event Perspective

If you consider the world from an event perspective, the best you can do is to be smarter is ‘react’. You tend to be smarter by reacting quickly, becoming more lighter on your feet, and flexible as you advance through life.

So how do you view the world from an event perspective? You ask a question like, ‘What happened?’.

There is the possibility of becoming more aware and seeing more at this level. An excellent technique to achieve this is by telling a story to a group. If you can see beyond each event, see beyond patterns and trends, you will be empowered to anticipate, predict, and plan.

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ii. Pattern Perspective

To view the world from a pattern perspective, you need to ask, ‘What has been happening?’

It is most times difficult to see the actual size of an iceberg (underlying structures that are the causes of events). The waterline dissects what’s visible from what’s not visible.

A systems thinker does not assume from what’s visible only; he or she seeks to know what has been happening.

Take a look at this video to understand more about the Iceberg Theory:

 

iii. The Structure Perspective

To view the world from a structure perspective, you need to ask, ‘what is causing issues?’ The answers will be the factors and forces responsible.

If you find yourself in a traffic jam, you don’t blame the next driver as a smart person; you could ask, ‘what’s been causing the traffic jam?

The usual answers could be a decaying road surface, careless driver, or high speed, but that would be the same things identified as trends. What makes the structure perspective different from others.

The structure is what propels your energy. It is what affects happenings. A systems thinkers make deductions based on internal structures to arrive at a conclusion

3. People Problems vs System Problems

Several issues ranging from security breaches, product flaws, poverty, to transportation inefficiencies are systemic.

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Even when you misbehave, there is usually an internal system to blame.

If you are not productive in your business, it may not be caused by you. There may be a system that you need to enhance.

Do you remember our feedback points? As soon as you assess the system, you can focus on people. Is a new hire causing lag in the packaging process? Is poor communication affecting the team’s performance? Reallocating job roles may be a perfect leverage point.

In the traffic jam example, there could be a system-based solution such as installing traffic lights and subsequently enforcing traffic laws in the area to penalize reckless drivers.

How to Foster Learning with Systems Thinking

Systems thinking helps you to appreciate the interrelationships of people, organizations, policies, decisions, ideas, and relationships.

Peter M Senge propounded five disciplines that foster learning in your DNA- whether you are leading an organization, starting a venture, or working as a freelancer.[1]

1. Gain Mastery

You can take online courses, attend conferences, read blog articles and books, listen to podcasts, converse with leaders within and beyond your industry, watch documentaries, learn from your team, and stretch yourself by improving your skills.

2. Discover Your Assumptions and Biases

There was this parable of four blind men who made different assumptions about an elephant. Their assumptions and biases hinder them from understanding how the animal looks like.

Biases can rob you of innovation and prevent you from experiencing personal growth. To become aware of your biases, you have to take an internal trip and engage breakthrough thinking.

3. Establish Your Vision

Systems grind to a halt when the goal or mission is not defined. You will not have the motivation to complete the online course if you don’t know why you subscribe in the first place.

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Is it for career advancement? To up your game or to gain general knowledge? Vision inspires you.

4. Learn in Groups

There is power in shared learning. There is a solidification of understanding when you learn in a group. You can have the lessons etched in your long term memory.

For instance, you can join learning groups where information is shared weekly.

5. Think in Systems

Systems thinking is about lifelong learning and improvement. It has also been linked to the Iceberg principle, which affirms that visible events are insignificant compared to what’s visible. There’s more ice below the waterline than what you can see with your physical eyes.

Anytime you are battling with a challenge, think in systems. Understand the details of the issue. Discover your leverage points. Assess, adapt, and keep improving your models.

After all. If you meet a lion in the wild, you need to understand what you are facing.

Final Thoughts

You can foster systems thinking by modeling your own environment. Participate in training, watch TED Talks, and create time to connect with others.

Also, practice critical thinking instead of making assumptions before you make a decision. The more you think systems, the more you will become smarter and productive in every aspect of your life.

More to Help You Think Smarter

Featured photo credit: Olav Ahrens Røtne via unsplash.com

Reference

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