By August 11, 2010 8 Comments Read More →

Day 11 – Reduce Friction and Create Glide-Paths for Your Day

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“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Your Outcome: Simplify your day by getting rid of the hurdles and personal obstacle courses that are in your way throughout the day. Doing your daily chores or common tasks shouldn’t be a jungle gym.  It should be a glide path.

Make your day a whole lot easier by eliminating or reducing the friction in your day. Establish “friction-free” glide paths that support you throughout your entire day.  By reducing the friction and simplifying your daily routines and common tasks, you make it easier to glide through your results.

Welcome to day 11 of 30 Days of Getting Results.  In day 10, we learned how to feel strong all week long.  Today, we learn how to reduce the friction in our day, and make it easier to do the common things we do.  This way we spend less energy on little things getting in our way, so we have more energy and focus to tackle the big things.

Don’t die the death of a 1000 paper cuts throughout your day!

All the little friction in our day can wear us down.  Especially if it’s things within our control.  Don’t complain about the stuff in your way … do something about it.   Your glide paths will really help you on days when you’re run down, or you’re running late, and you really need it most.

3 Steps to Creating Friction-Free Glide Paths
Here are three steps to creating friction-free glide paths.

  • Step 1.  Walk your paths.  Simply write down your common routines and common tasks you throughout your day.  If you don’t know where to start, write down breakfast, lunch, and dinner.    Chances are you have a lot of recurring activities each day that you can choose to tune.
  • Step 2.  Identify the friction.  Identify the things that create friction throughout your day: What slows you down?  … What hoops do you have to jump through? …  What’s always in your way or what are you constantly moving out of your way to get to something else?
  • Step 3.  Simplify your paths.  Declutter and reduce the friction for your common scenarios, routines, and tasks.  Most of the ways to do this will be obvious to you now that you’ve listed your common tasks and points of friction.  Brainstorm ideas for making these routines less complicated and less friction.

10 Examples of Friction-Free Glide Paths
Here are some examples of friction-free glide paths:

  1. Get rid of the clothes on the top of the hamper.  Tip – If you want clothes to go in the hamper, then don’t have clothes on top of it.  Nobody should have to lift the hamper lid with a bunch of clothes on top.   If the lid keeps turning into one more shelf, then remove the lid.
  2. Clear your workspace.  Keep your workspace clear and ready to go.  You can clear it the night before or you can do a quick sweep right before you use it.
  3. Put your sneakers by the bed.  If you workout in the morning, have your sneakers and gym clothes ready to go.  This is one less excuse for not working out on a day when you don’t feel like it.
  4. Put garbage cans where you need them.
  5. Create checklists for common routines.  You won’t have to try and remember what to do next and you can make it easier to follow your routine.
  6. Put things where you look for them.  If you are always looking for something in the wrong place, then make the wrong place, the right place and put it there.
  7. Make space on your bookshelf so you don’t have to stack or balance things or squeeze with all your might to get that very last book to fit just right.  Pulling books off your shelf shouldn’t be a chore, and neither should putting them back.
  8. Put your calendar where you can see it at a glance.  Make it easy to quickly see what your schedule looks like.
  9. Make it easy to look things up.  If you regularly look certain things up, consolidate them and put them in easy reach.
  10. Remove anything that you have to step over or walk around.  Pave a simpler path and make it easy to go wherever you need to get to on a regular basis.

There are many, many ways to create glide paths in your day.  These are just some random ideas to get your started.  Get creative.  You probably already know what you need to do, you just have to decide to do it.  This is worth making time for since it pays you back throughout your day, and it pays you back everyday .. with interest.

Your Assignment

  1. Identify your worst friction points in your day.
  2. Create three glide paths to simplify your day.  Pick any routines or common tasks that you want to make easier for yourself.

My Related Posts

Photo by jayhem.

8 Comments on "Day 11 – Reduce Friction and Create Glide-Paths for Your Day"

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  1. Super ideas!! Sneakers by the bed — check! Clothes hamper with nothing on top — check! Nothing to walk over or around — check! Bookshelves with “air” between items…. ah, next on list.

    xo

  2. JD says:

    @ Jannie — Very well put — “air” between them. There’s nothing like a bit of breathing room ;)

  3. Hilary says:

    Hi JD .. very necessary to simplify our lives – so we can hit the day running (even if we don’t run!) .. and have nothing that’s hanging over from yesterday – write our list the night before – so we know where we are .. and as you say have all the things we want to easily reference – near by and clear .. tidy up and declutter .. we only need what we need and no more ..

    Thanks – Hilary

  4. JD says:

    @ Hilary — “Hit the day running” is the perfect way to put it!

  5. Dave says:

    In step one the last sentence got chopped off. Was there suppose to be anything at the end.

  6. yumi says:

    Friction-Free-Glide-Path is my favorite one. I am surprised to find less comments than usual. Maybe everyone got too busy working on their frictions? This concept helped me to break 8 of my bad habits so far. It changed my energy level, big time. I think the key is to keep the results visually. I made two lists: one list for frictions to be analyzed and another list for frictions that have been resolved. I feel good every time I open the friction-free-glide-path file as I see the resolved frictions list first. My list of small wins motivates me to work on other frictions that I can reduce…

    Thank you for the book suggestion. I just placed Marcus Buckingham’s book on hold. I will pick it up from the library and start reading it soon. Just like Jannie, I try to keep some “air” in the book shelves. If I must have it, it will be on my “MUST LIST” until I get to it in the near future.

    Categories under my Must list were -daily, weekly, monthly, tasks. My Should list had two: tasks & “meditate on…” I just changed Tasks into Actions as I like this word better. I added “Insights” section right about meditation for the SHOULD list. As I noted yesterday through my quote, what we seek is seeking us. I also added insights to my brain dump file. I will be finding insights as I am seeking them…

    • JD says:

      Interestingly, people tend to stop by at work and talk about my posts rather than comment.

      It’s all good.

      I’ve been taking a fresh look at how to reduce friction in more of my daily activities. It’s been a while since I took at look at my daily routines and where my time goes. The good news is this means I’ll have plenty to work with in terms of reducing friction and gaining time back.

      Sometimes we have to continue on our merry way for a while, and then we take a look back on what we do each day, it’s easier to see what’s waste vs. what’s worth it. When we look for it, we can find plenty of ways to repurpose our time, or find ways to do things better, faster, easier, or to create friction-free glidepaths.

      I think perhaps the most important friction-free glide path to create is one that supports our personal ability to generate value. So if you work at a job, make your job easier to produce value, while keeping in mind the 80/20 rule.

      If you’re an artist or creator or any sort of “producer”, then make it easy to generate more of your art. It’s how you practice your craft, and how you get more chances to knock it out of the park. Success is a numbers game, but it’s our learning and practice that’s the secret sauce for unleashing our greatness within.

      Getting a little better overtime adds up. It may start off linear, but it quickly gets exponential and it leads to brilliance and breakthroughs.

      Here’s to your breakthroughs.

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