Think for a minute about any process that you perform everyday.
Have you ever found yourself wondering why do I always do it this way?
Or did it ever occur to you that there might be a better way?
It’s all over the news and talk shows how the recession calls for us to simplify and streamline our lives. We hear everyday about the benefits of cutting back in order to feel better during tough times.
– save money on groceries – improve fuel economy – clear clutter and find more time – “stay-cations” instead of traveling – …and the list goes on…
Even with all the suggestions being offered, to me it still seems like a lot of work.
I prefer to simplify by looking at what’s already simple and make that easier.
When you make these changes to the little tasks, you will be better prepared to tackle simplifying the big or complicated processes.
Now, how often do you find yourself over-complicating a process just because you haven’t taken a moment to ask why?
Let’s refer to these complicated processes as “over-adultifying” for now to remind us to look at tasks from a child’s perspective.
Here’s a personal example of “over-adultifying” the simple process of watering the yard:
1. Determine if the yard needs watering
2. Consider the weather and whether or not tomorrow would be a better day for it
3. Unwind the hose
4. Drag to the appropriate portion of yard
5. Attach the sprinkler
6. Turn the water on
7. Watch to see where the water is spraying
8. Turn off the water
9. Move the hose to a better location to avoid spraying the sidewalk
10. Repeat 6 – 9 until placement is just right
11. Go inside set timer
12. Come back out in 30 min and repeat process until entire yard is watered
Today during this process, I asked myself “why?”
If I were a kid, I would actually be looking for an excuse to get wet. A quick sprinkle of water is not going to hurt me! So, when I came to step 7 I just walked right under the sprinkler and moved it with the water running. Sure it was chilly, but I couldn’t help but laugh as a got wet dragging the sprinkler across the yard. See, asking why and approaching the task as a child would not only works, it has the added benefit of adding enjoyment to the situation.
Now, when it comes to watering I’ve simplified the process even more because I no longer look at it as a chore, I approach it from the kid perspective.
1. Spontaneously decide to water the yard
2. Take off shoes
3. Attach sprinkler to hose
4. Drag hose & sprinkler to center of yard
5. Turn H2O on
6. Run out and move sprinkler to best placement
7. Go inside, get a glass of tea
8. When shirt has dried, go move sprinkler again
Sure, I did add a few steps that weren’t there before, but the overall process is now simpler and much more enjoyable!
Identifying ways to improve or simplify the process becomes second nature, or like a hobby. Every time the new, improved way works you get that internal pat on the back, that “yes!” that encourages you to keep going. In time, all the minutes and effort you save will give you time for something else, like getting to read an extra chapter at night or having the time to send a well thought out email to a friend (instead of just forwarding a joke).
P.S. For those of you up north where it’s freezing cold, you should understand that here in Texas at the time I was writing this we were having temps in the mid 70’s & lower 80’s. I’m sure there is an equivalent “child-ification” of shoveling snow, involving snow angels and hot chocolate in front of the fireplace… I’ll leave it to you to apply the process simplification. But, don’t worry if you can’t find a way to make it easier, just explain the process to your kids and note when they ask “why?”