Creating Flexibility by Going Modular

Being too organised is normally portrayed as a bad thing. People think of organised people as inflexible and tedious. But that couldn’t be further from the truth!

If you’re naturally an organised person, it just means that you plan your time more effectively, giving you more time to enjoy yourself.

Living your life LEAN could even push your organisational skills to the next level and pave the way for an exciting, stress free life, leaving behind the hours of wasted time that less LEAN livers spend mindlessly wading through boring, menial tasks.

Organised Change

There will always be times that you need to change the way you do things. You’ll need to change a process at work, rearrange your home, change your lifestyle due to a new baby – the list goes on.

Organised people don’t adapt to change well and their natural reaction is to rethink the whole process from start to finish to get it to fit into their new daily routine. It’s a checklist in the brain that needs to be completed and needs to have a set process to do that. It might take the same amount of time, or even more time, but at least you’ll know it’s complete.

While organised people might be more efficient at completing tasks and reworking processes, this just means that they get down a huge task list much faster as their goal is to reach the bottom.

However, adopting a LEAN methodology, using micro modules as a form of organisation will ensure you keep that level of efficiency, whilst still being adaptable and be spontaneous AND giving you time to do the things you love, even before you’ve reached the end of that giant checklist.

What are Modules?

Creating modules in your life will mean that you can switch up tasks more quickly and still have everything you need to be efficient. It creates flexibility but in an organised way.

A module is a unit which can be moved around within a process, creating flexibility, but also maintain the structure of the task at hand to reach the end-goal.

Think of a building. Each brick is its own module. They can be moved around and placed in any order you like. But ultimately, all those modules make up the whole structure of the building to ensure it stands strong.

You need to create modules in your life that you can move around, creating flexibility, but still achieving the same end-goal – which is to create space in your life for the things you enjoy.

Modular Living

Take your handbag, for example. You might have a bag for work, a bag for shopping, a bag for the gym and a different bag for going ‘out-out’. All those bags will contain different items based on what you need on any given day. There’s also likely to be some cross over of ‘waste’ items, such as spare tissues, pens, sunglasses etc., which aren’t needed all the time, if ever.

When you’re switching bags over in a hurry, there will be an initial panic, thinking that you’ve left something in your other bag – a frantic search for your phone, purse and keys and you might leave something vital behind – only to realise 2 hours later when you come to use it.

Creating Handbag Modules

Step 1 – Separate your items into things you only need for work, things you only need for shopping and things that you might need for every other occasion.

Step 2 – Remove any waste items (old tissues, pens that don’t work, receipts). You need a clean workspace. Get into the habits of removing waste items each day when you’re finished with your bag.

Step 3 – Place your module of items that you only need for work in the work bag. You might need spare pens, notebooks, cutlery if you eat lunch at work? Do the same for your shopping bag and your going out bag.

Step 4 – All the cross over items – lipstick, phone, keys and purse can be kept in a separate, mini bag. Creating ‘modules’ out of each bag with a flexible mini bag in between.

Step 5 – Whenever you change bags for a different activity, you can just move the mini bag with your essentials between your 3 handbags and place it inside.

You’ll always know you have the items you need. It’ll save valuable time switching everything between bags and your bag within your bag will create compartments which makes it easier to find things. You know your money will always be in your moveable module, so there’s no panicked hunting around when it comes to paying at the check-out.

Your handbag modules allow you to be ready for any occasion. You’ve cut out all the wasted time that you’d normally spend hunting for items, removed the stress of forgetting something important, but still managed to be flexible, so you can change from your work bag to your going out bag in seconds.

Your friends will be shocked at your new, easy-going attitude which has replaced the half hour of planning ahead to make sure you’re prepared for every possible situation and you’ve gained that extra time having fun!

Other Modular Ideas

This concept can be drafted into all aspects of your life.

Thinking about work:

  • Create folders in your inbox for specific types of email and file them away. When you’re looking for something in a hurry, you’ll cut out minutes of searching through your old email queue. Plus, you can make your inbox a sort of ‘to-do’ list – the ones that aren’t filed still need to be dealt with.
  • Leaver arch files. Pack similar items into plastic wallets with separators. You’ll be able to flip to the exact section you need at a moment’s notice.

At home:

  • Don’t stop at your handbag. How about creating modules in your car? If you’re going hiking, pack a box with hiking boots and warm coats. When you go camping, just switch to your box with your tents and camping stove and at the gym, change your box to your gym box with your kit and, water bottle and Fitbit.
  • Doing laundry? Create sections for white, darks and delicates in your laundry basket, then just pull out all the whites together when you come to do a load. You’ve shaved off precious minutes of wasted sorting.

If you think about how each task can be broken down into modules, you’ll find it much easier to move your workload around – reorganising where necessary. It’ll allow for greater flexibility and free up some much needed you time.