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.
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?
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?)
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.
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.
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.