Minimalist Manager Challenge Part 9: New Location

The final task in my #MinimalistManager Challenge took me out of my home office!

Find out what made me want to try this task, how it went, and some ways you can add a new perspective by adjusting your normal work routine.

A Little Background…

Minimalist Management is based on a core philosophy of reducing our reliance on unneeded things, and increasing our appreciation of the world around us.

I believe there are 4 main focus areas to make this successful:

  • Care for Self
  • Organize Surroundings
  • Prioritize Time
  • Help Others

In this post, you will see a Post-Mortem Evaluation of today’s task, which reveals some root causes of actions to avoid as a business owner.

A Post-Mortem has 4 parts:

  1. what happened
  2. what went well
  3. what didn’t go well, and
  4. how we can adjust for the future

Check out my first post to find out WHY I decided to start this challenge in the first place.

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Autumn is here, and it’s time for a new #minimalistmanager challenge! I’ll be experiencing tasks that get me closer to business goals, even if it’s uncomfortable… like eating #nosugar (tomorrow’s objective) 🍭🛑. Want to join me? Here’s how: . . . Pick 9 activities that feel slightly uncomfortable but move you toward your goals in four areas: • Care for Self • Organize Surroundings • Prioritize Time • Help Others If you own a business, consider ways to stretch yourself as an owner. Set aside a period of time to work on your challenge (I recommend 9 to 15 days). Write down your challenge tasks. Each day, pick one card out of a hat 🎩. [I scheduled 15 days with 9 activities; the extra days are to recognize and celebrate growth, or consider why it didn’t go so well.] I’ll be posting updates about my challenge here: https://laconteconsulting.com/blog Join me, and let me know what you learn about yourself!

A post shared by Grace LaConte (@lacontestrategy) on

The full list

Watch a video to see how it went:


So… what happened?

Part 9 of My Challenge: Go Somewhere New

For this task, my goal was to switch up my normal workday by basing out of a new place. Since I work from home, I was curious about whether changing my base of operations for a day would help or hurt my productivity.

After considering a few options, I decided on a local library.

new workspace, new workplace, library, community library, Cascade Park Community Library, Minimalist Manager
Cascade Park Community Library

I have always enjoyed going to the library. It’s a place of solitude, comfort, and filled with the potential for growth. It contains millions of pages of written and visual material. When we walk through the doors, we have immediate and tangible access to reference material that is not possible through any other medium.

new workspace, new workplace, library desk, shelves of books, library design, Minimalist Manager
Grace sitting with library shelves in the background

On the day I visited, my library’s Book Return had a cute purple-and-blue striped monster with the caption, “Feed Me Books!” This double entendre refers to both a reminder to return books on time, and also to an interest in consuming the information contained in them.

Essential Area

This task fits into two categories:

  • Care for Self
  • Organize Surroundings
  • Prioritize Time
  • Help Others

Not only did this task provide a completely new physical environment (sounds, sights, smells, surfaces, chairs, natural light) and an awareness of my emotional temperature, it also boosted my goals by allowing me to re-prioritize where I want to go, and how to get there.

Trying something new—even if it’s small—can make a big difference in your perspective.

Goals

I decided on several objectives for working in a new space.

I wanted to:

  • reflect on my surroundings,
  • feel my body in that space,
  • recognize the effect of physical space on work productivity,
  • put me in contact with people I normally wouldn’t meet,
  • identify visual barriers to staying on task, and
  • spark creativity by shaking up my normal routine.

Post-Mortem Evaluation

Here is a summary of how this task went.

1. What happened

During this whole challenge, I wanted to get closer to my ultimate goals.

Think about how easy it is to get stuck in a rut of doing the same things every day:

  • Get up and make coffee or tea using the same ingredients and measurements.
  • Take the same route to work (for a home office, this can be just 15 feet from kitchen to workspace).
  • Eat lunch at the same time… and sometimes with the same menu (my go-to lunch is avocado, black beans, and a fried egg).
  • Talk to the same co-workers or associates.

A repetitive routine like this can lull us into a false sense of security, because it robs us of experiencing the world in new ways.

Repetition can lead to familiarity; familiarity leads to apathy; and apathy leads to vulnerability.

For this task, I left my normal office environment and set up my work at a table facing a window with a grove of hardwood trees. This library was designed with really high ceilings of different heights, lots of windows, and a fabulous array of landscape architecture. I overlooked a Chinese garden, where library visitors are invited to read outside when the weather is clear.

new workspace, new workplace, library desk, natural light, tree view, Minimalist Manager
My new library workspace with a view of trees

2. What went well

This task was pretty easy to complete.

I was able to do some planning for 2019, reflect on my goals for the future, read and respond to e-mails, and write several thank-you notes.

But not every minute was spent on work; I also looked out of the window to breathe in the beauty of the trees (we have some incredible trees here in the Pacific Northwest). When resting my eyes, I studied the well-designed architectural details in the building. While entering and leaving, I also interacted with some of the library staff and other visitors.

Doing something out of the ordinary makes us appreciate new things, which expands our view of the world.

Another benefit of this trip was that I dropped off a big box of books. As you can read about in Task 4 of this challenge (Organize the Office), one of my overall goals was to become more aware of why I tend to collect too many books, and to reduce my reliance on hoarding them. It was difficult to decide which ones to cut loose, but I finally settled on a few that are not bringing me any joy.

You can see which books got the old heave-ho:

 

3. What didn’t go well

Working in a new place feels invigorating, but it can also be a distraction.

A single conversation with a library volunteer took over 15 minutes.
I didn’t stay totally focused on my To-Do List the whole time I was there.

One goal I was hoping to achieve on this trip was to finish writing some new speaking topics. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough time to do this. So if felt like my day could have been a lot more productive if I had stayed in my normal routine.

But my attempt to work in a new environment reminded me that we are interconnected beings… which is easy to forget when you work in a near-solitude work space.

4. How I can adjust for the future

For me, the key during this challenge was to stay on track with the few tasks needed to achieve my weekly goals (Moving the Needle), while also flexing to each situation’s potential opportunities for growth.

My goals have changed over the past year. I am learning that there are some amazing benefits to reaching out of my normal introvert comfort zone by meeting more people, seeing new things, and entering situations that aren’t as familiar.

I’ve been learning to allow delays and hiccups to take place without passing judgment, and to be more forgiving of adjustments that need to happen in my work schedule rather than feeling angry or self-critical.

When things don’t turn out the way we planned, we often feel responsible for the failure rather than allowing it to teach us how to adjust.

So although I would have preferred to “check more off the list” during this task, my goals changed. I decided to

  • suspend judgment,
  • enter the interruptions with curiosity,
  • breathe in the experience with all 5 senses,
  • step back to see the bigger picture of my long-term objectives, and
  • ask how this could change me.

Summary

Whether you work from a business building, a medical facility, a virtual office, or a home-based desk, hopefully you now feel motivated to break out of the routine.

You could…

  • Try a new work location for 1 day a month.
  • Go to places that are outside your normal route.
  • Read books that aren’t normally on your list.
  • Sign up for a community class to learn a new skill.
  • Join a new circle of friends.
  • Network at a business event you might normally skip.

Doing things to diversify your routine does a few things. You might find that it expands your perspective. It can allow you to make new goals, see your business in a new way, and even connect with people who are a perfect fit for your services (a.k.a. Ideal Customers).

What are some changes you have made in your routine? Leave a comment below!

 

If you are interested in discussing practical ways to move your business toward your goals, let’s talk.


Follow my #MinimalistManager journey:

Stay tuned for my final post, where I will share some closing thoughts about this entire challenge.


Grace LaConte is a Strategic Risk Expert who helps service business owners find and fix hidden risks that keep them from achieving long-term success. Using her experience as a Risk Officer in the healthcare and technology fields, Grace shares a refreshingly honest approach to uncovering hidden risks and opportunities. Learn more at http://laconteconsulting.com, or connect with her on Twitter @lacontestrategy.

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