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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 January 13, 2020

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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