I recently moved and as part of this effort I’ve become painfully aware of a few things.
One — My tools are scattered.
Two — The places I used store “stuff” no longer exist.
Three — I need to create new shelves, workspaces, and mentally geocached locations.
Although this was not the first time I’ve moved. And, it’s not the first time I’ve been in new situations. However, as I go through the motions of setting things up and being asked to move, adjust, replace, and otherwise make this house our home I began to realize these are all the same things we do in business every day.
The one advantage with the house is that my (occasional) use of four-letter words isn’t heard by my colleagues. Just by my dog. And, I can tell you … she doesn’t like it.
What I’ve Learned From Improvisation
I’ve learned that I have to improvise every time I want to do something. Even something as simple as hanging a picture or mirror. I have to find the tools, the nails, and the stepladder too. Maybe this is a good thing. More on that in a moment.
I order to do these things I often have to get creative too.
Which I kinda like.
As an mechanical engineer I do enjoy the challenges of building racks for my Stand Up Paddleboards and for trying to optimize the storage of the multitudes of boxes we (for whatever reason) moved to the new place.
I’ve learned three things:
- Have a place for tools you’ll need. Even if it’s just a corner area.
- Put the tools back where they belong. This is critical!
- This is also true in business.
In order to be productive … you need to know where your tools are so you can focus on the task and challenge at hand.
Reality Check: Maybe the initial challenge is to get everything setup.
This can be seen as an opportunity to get organized and to do a reset.
What I’ve learned is … take the time to set things up … the first time. So that you don’t have to waste / spend time to search for the right tools, templates, etc.
What I’ve learned is … sometimes it takes and unsubtle reminder of NOT setting things up to force you to look for the right tool for the job.
This is where that ranting and occasional four letter words come in. As noted above. The ranting that my dog does not approve
(and my colleagues would not likely appreciate either)
Every time we need to do something there is a little bit of improvisation required. Even for regimented tasks and actions we do every day there are subtle changes.
When you can improvise you will stand out in your career.
It’s a skill that can take time to develop. And, at different times when added stressors are placed upon you it can change the way you will improvise. But, with practice those Improvisational Muscles will begin to develop and be ready to adapt on the fly. Then you’ll know you’ve made it.
- Meetings get called unexpectedly
- Agendas change
- Customer and partner needs change
As noted, at home things change too. You might be moving or get new appliances or furniture. All may require a bit of improvisation to get in the house or learn how to use them.
As for me and the new house …
I am slowly putting things in their place. I’m truly realizing the value of knowing where things are. As I have spent far more time looking for the tool I need for the job than I have actually doing the job.
I’m making adjustments. I’m putting tools in one place and returning them to the one place when I’m done with them. It’s a learning process.
What Can Your Learn From Improvisation
My primary takeaway is:
Use your powers of improvisation to get things done.
But, at the same time … put things in their place to allow your brain (and body) to open up your channels of creativity and innovation. By not having to look for a tool you free yourself up to be more productive.