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How to Promote Resourcefulness In Yourself and Others

How to Promote Resourcefulness In Yourself and Others

Being resourceful means knowing how to get the information and results you want. Being organized and having trusted systems are big pieces of the productivity puzzle, but sometimes “Getting Things Done” means being a creative problem-solver.

MacGyver

    Being MacGyver
    Many of you will recall the television show MacGyver, about a guy whom I consider The Poster Boy of Resourcefulness. Read a great list of MacGyver’s feats per episode. He routinely disarmed bombs with paperclips and used gum wrappers to fix fuses. How can we bring MacGyver’s ingenuity to our daily lives and work?

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    Ask yourself these questions:

    Is there another way to get what I want?
    Is the desired result really the best result?
    Who else has information that might help me?
    What is something very similar to what I need that might also work?
    Who is the expert in this area?
    What is one more thing I can try?
    What would someone I admire do in this same situation? (WWMD- What Would MacGyver Do?)

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    Don’t reinvent the wheel
    Look for a solution that someone else has already created. It might be a book, a software program, or someone’s existing checklists or procedures. You can learn almost anything from a book — I actually learned to juggle from reading “Juggling for the Complete Klutz” when I was in elementary school. If there is something I need my computer to do, I immediately think that someone else may have already written software to address it. You can find many elegant solutions this way by searching download.com and Palmgear.

    Leverage your network
    Build and maintain a network of people you can call on for questions and support, and make sure you make yourself available to these same people when they need help from you. New networking choices like LinkedIn can be invaluable for finding more avenues and options. People from various backgrounds, fields, industries, and even age groups can provide tremendous objective insights.

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    Learn everything you can about how to find information
    If you are reading this article on the web, you most likely know the basics of querying your favorite search engine. However, I am often surprised at how many people do not know Boolean search techniques such as AND/OR searches and other ways of narrowing search results. Here is a great page of explanations about advanced features in Google. Even in these days of online information, don’t forget your local library and even the librarian!

    Teach resourceful habits to your family and your team at work
    If your children want to know some information, teach them how to look it up themselves, and show them reference books other than just the dictionary. When your team members come to a meeting with a problem, make it part of your company culture that they are expected to also show up with a proposed answer to that problem. Make sure that initiative is encouraged.

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    Resourcefulness = Necessity + Creativity + Persistence
    If you’ve ever written information on a napkin or chased down some tickets to a sold-out concert, you can consider yourself resourceful already! We are all capable of exhibiting great creativity and persistence when something is important, so make it a point to expand and practice these skills.

    Lorie Marrero is a Professional Organizer and creator of The Clutter Diet, an innovative, affordable online program for home organization. Lorie’s site helps members lose “Clutter-Pounds” from their home by providing online access to her team of organizers. Lorie writes something useful, funny, interesting, and/or insanely practical every few days or so in her blog. She lives in Austin, TX, where her company has provided hands-on organizing services to clients since 2000.

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    Last Updated on March 31, 2020

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why We Procrastinate After All?

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    Is Procrastination Bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How Bad Procrastination Can Be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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    Procrastination, a Technical Failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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