Gentle Improvements || Following Up.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Hello lovely people, I thought I'd introduce a new little series type thing all about gentle little improvements. Last year I read The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin and I actually found it fascinating and can only recommend it to anyone. Rather than a self help book, it's a documentary of the author exploring different areas of her life and how (fairly little) changes in those areas could contribute to her overall happiness. I won't go into detail, but if you're at all interested, give it a read. I'm also spending (and/or planning to spend) a lot of time reading about how to work efficiently, which habits are good to have et cetera et cetera, so I thought I'd share little aspects that I've decided to work on with you.

The first thing I decided to work on is Following Up. It was one of the points in this blog post, and whilst I guess this can mean different things to different people, the way I mean it here is to do the things I said I'd do in the promised time frame and to the highest standard I can or to not offer to do them in the first place.

This should be so obvious, but at the same time it's just so easy to volunteer to do things, because it seems like the polite thing to do, because you feel pressurised to say yes, or simply because you didn't think it through. I've decided now that I'd like to be that person who always delivers, preferably before and to a higher standard than the other party expects it.
So just to give you an example, last week someone asked me for a recommendation on LinkedIn and I said I'd try to get it done at the weekend. Then the weekend came and I didn't just almost forget, I also really didn't feel like it when my little reminder (about which I'll talk in just a moment) came up, and I knew I could easily push it until the next day, the day after or the day after that, but then I thought, you know what, I'm just going to sit down right now and write the very best version I can, to really make it about this person, to describe why they were so good to work with, rather than use a generic template kind of script. And after I sent it off, the person at the receiving end actually told me numerous times how much she appreciated it, which in turn made me very happy. At the end of the day, it was such a small thing for me to do (+ once I started I actually enjoyed it) and it really meant something to someone else. I want to work on always making this happen.

The same goes for things that I need to get done myself, things that could easily be pushed, but that I'd feel a lot better about if I just got them done, I kind of owe that to myself, right? And again, I'd also like to do this to the best standard.

So to help me with this I've created a fresh account on Wunderlist and downloaded it again for my Macbook and iPhone. Wunderlist is essentially a simply (to) do list app, but at the same time, whilst super simple, it's so much more than that. You can have all sorts of different lists, you can for example have different ones for private and work, another one for shopping and another one maybe for films you'd like to watch or books you'd like to read. You can also set yourself reminders and due dates, create sub tasks, and set tasks to repeat every, well however often you'd like to repeat them.
What I love about this is that you can basically have it as simple as you want, but it can also accommodate for complexities. So what I do now is to literally keep track of everything (and I mean everything) I'd like to get done, so things I said I'd get done and things I want to get done for myself and for the majority of them, I set a due date. I have them on different lists, but the app gives me an overview of what I want/ to get done when this week or today, because in one place it accumulates all the tasks and due dates from the different lists and puts them in order.

How are you with following up? Is it something you think you're pretty good at (and if so, tell me all your secrets ;) ), is it something you think is important and you'd like to improve? I'd love to hear your thoughts and tips.



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