Work Hacks Wednesday: Learning to Structure – A Series

When I started out reading AVC, a daily blog by venture capitalist Fred Wilson, I used to be critical about typos. There was typically one every post and I used to point them out in the comments once a while. Those were the days when I only blogged ‘long form’ occasionally. Now that I do a ‘long form’ post a day, I have all sympathy for typos. I think I have one a day, too! You’ve got to feel the pain.. :-)

The idea of structuring topics by days of the week (Eg: Work Hacks Wednesday) also comes from the structure I see him adopt. He does MBA Mondays and Fun/Feature Fridays. I can see the benefit. It helps simplify blogging every day. And now, for the first time, I’m copying another Fred Wilson feature – a series! And funnily, it was because I was wondering how I would cover the very useful topic of ‘structuring’ in a post. And, of course, the series idea made perfect sense..

How does this relate to structuring? Structuring, in my mind, is breaking things down to digestible/comprehensible chunks to help ourselves and others understand the situation at hand and what we/they need to do.

So, structuring in the case of an ambiguous thing like daily blogging is adding bits of consistency like a work hack every Wednesday or an interview every fortnight. That sounds an awful lot like organization, of course but it isn’t. Structuring is a lot more than just organization. It’s an approach, a way of thought that translates into what we do. And most importantly, it is one that can be learnt.

I feel structuring, as a skill, is underrated and is one that should be taught in schools. While we love emphasising people who get things done, getting things done effectively always involves upfront structuring. In essence, it’s operationalizing what Stephen Covey describes as ‘Begin with the end in mind.’

Of course, I’m not claiming to the most structured person around by any means but I’ve learnt a lot over the past few years or so thought I would put down some ideas that help me structure –

1. Verbal Communication
2. Written Communication
3. Presentations
4. Projects
5. Thought

Any other requests/ideas for the series is, of course, welcome.

I am experimenting writing without the traditional image. Thanks to nudges from William and Nishanth and reading this blog post on using images from Google Images, I am contemplating stopping using images altogether. Thoughts on this are much appreciated as well!