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How to Use the Law of Requisite Variety to Improve your Life

How to Use the Law of Requisite Variety to Improve your Life


    Have you ever had one of those days where it was just one thing after another going wrong?

    Did you lay back and take it?

    Or…did you adapt to the changing situation around you to get the best possible result?

    Most people do the former.

    When problems pop up they don’t even try to fix them.

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    And then there’s always the temptation to resort to complaining…it feels good to sit back and have a moan about things doesn’t it?

    Well, maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit.

    Because the fact of the matter is this: The most flexible person wins.

    This theory has been studied across numerous disciplines, but originates from cybernetics – a study of the structure of regulatory systems.

    Cybernetics is a pretty complex theory that coined the term: ‘The Law of Requisite Variety’. To put it simplistically it means this:

    The more flexible you are when life throws a challenge your way – the more likely you will control your life and get what you want

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    What this means is that instead of just accepting situations when they don’t go your way – you have the opportunity to look for alternative options or solutions so that you essentially ‘beat’ the problem.

    Do you think successful people roll over and admit defeat when things don’t go their way? Of course not. They come up with ideas and solutions to ensure that no matter what happens – no matter how many issues are thrown at them – they are flexible enough to adapt and still get what they want.

    Let me give you an example.

    You’re running late. An unexpected detour means you’re faced with a huge traffic jam. You have 2 options – you can accept this challenge and sit in the traffic jam, give in to road rage & frustration – OR you can try to find another way around the problem.

    • Can you take another route?
    • Can you use the time in the car productively and to your advantage?
    • Can you start focusing on what needs to get done at work? Or brainstorm solutions to other problems you need to solve?
    • Can you look at this window of time as an opportunity instead of a problem?
    • Which of these options do you usually find yourself taking?
    • And is it time to make some changes?

    If you look at the most successful companies of the 21st century you can see this theory in action. Facebook, Google and Apple are constantly in a process of change and consistently launching new product innovations. They don’t sit still and wait for change to happen, they move in tandem with new technologies.

    Would they still be at the top of their game if they had remained the same as when they first launched?

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    I doubt it.

    Now – more than ever, we need to replace our rigidities with flexibility, we need to turn challenges into opportunities!

    Here’s a 3-step strategy to implement the Law of Requisite Variety into your life so you can start using change to your advantage:

    1. Lower your expectations

    Expect that things will probably not go your way. This removes any frustrations associated with change – often we have unrealistic expectations that things will always go according to plan. The reality is that life is in a constant flux of change and this too is reflected in everything we do on a day-to-day basis. The sooner you accept ‘change’ the sooner you can work with it instead of against it.

    2. Let go of trying to ‘control everything’

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    Try not to control how things turn out all the time. Be open to alternative options & solutions – when we open ourselves up, often there are better ways of doing things that we haven’t even considered. Being overly controlling is not a good thing.

    3. Change the way you view ‘change

    Instead of looking at change as a problem, look at it as an opportunity and remember – it’s up to you how you react to changes around you. You don’t have to lie down and take what life throws at you! Learn to duck and weave around life’s changes and use them to your advantage.

    (Photo credit: Closeup Shot of Colourful Jelly Beans via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Zoe B

    A strategist, coach and blogger who shows people how to stop what isn't working for them in life and to start to plan the life they really want.

    How to Overcome Boredom 6 Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills Effectively How to Increase Brain Power: 10 Simple Ways to Train Your Brain 12 Inspiring Quotes from Richard Branson that Enrich your Life 7 Irritating Thoughts That Throw You Off Track

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

    10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

    Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

    Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

    As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

    In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

    Projects and Tasks Management

    1. Monday dot com

      Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

      The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

      The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

      The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

      Check out the software here!

      2. Asana

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        The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

        The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

        Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

        Check out the software here!

        3. Trello

          Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

          Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

          Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

          Check out the software here!

          4. Jira

            The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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            The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

            The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

            Check out the software here!

            5. Evernote Business

              Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

              The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

              Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

              Check out the software here!

              Communication

              6. Slack

                Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                Check out the software here!

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                7. Spike

                  Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                  Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                  Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                  Check out the software here!

                  Creation

                  8. Office 365

                    Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                    Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                    You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                    Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                    Check out the software here!

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                    9. Grammarly

                      Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                      Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                      Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                      Check out the software here!

                      Team Analytics

                      10. ActivTrak

                        ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                        The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                        Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                        Check out the software here!

                        The Bottom Line

                        Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                        More Productivity Tools

                        Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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