How Much Work is Enough?

Apple, Chair, Computer, Desk, Eyewear, FurnitureAre you ever satisfied with the amount of work you accomplish? How often do you look back at your day and say, “I’m 100% happy with what I got done.” If you’re like me, it doesn’t happen often.

In his new book, Scary Close, NY Times Best Selling Author Donald Miller talks about his struggle’s with work and identity. He said he had become convinced that no amount of work was enough. He rarely was satisfied with how much he had accomplished. He was either exhausted from his tireless pursuit or he would quit, and resign to slothfulness. Who wants to live a life of exhaustion only to never reach some unobtainable level of production?

You can get his book here: Scary Close by Donald Miller

He suggests that those of us who are never satisfied with our accomplishments, believe nobody will love us until we’re perfect. What an insightful perspective! Maybe it’s not love you’re looking for at work. What is it for you? Stability? Appreciation? More money? For your boss to tap you on the shoulder and tell you, you’re really good at what you do?

The crazy thing is, production at work has traditionally been measured by the wrong means. How do you know when enough is enough?

  • Time – We all know that time spend doesn’t mean squat, yet some of us are paid for how long we sit in our chair everyday. Is it possible to make your company more money in 30 minutes than another employee makes in a week? In the words of Jim Rohn, “Of course!” It’s what you do with your time that should matter.
  • Exhaustion – Some take pride in working themselves into the ground. Working through lunch and staying at the office into the night have become badges of honor. As if to say “Look at how hard I’m working!” It’s only a mater of time before they crash and burn. An over-worked stressed out employee is the last thing a company needs.
  • Busyness – The busier you are the harder you’re working right? We know this isn’t true. Recent studies show that one’s IQ suffers less from smoking pot than from multitasking.

 

Photo By Kent Henderson

There are more I could mention but you get the point. So what do you work for? What drives you? Here is a list of questions that will help you get the most out of your work day.

  1. Did I do my best today?
  2. Was I brave?
  3. Was I honest?
  4. Did I serve others with my talents?
  5. Did I plant good seeds that will lead to growth for me and my company?
  6. Did I connect with others in a meaningful and helpful way today?
  7. Did I work for a greater purpose rather than for my own validation?

If you can look back at your day and answer yes to these questions, be proud of yourself. What you did today wasn’t perfect but it was enough.

Photo By Mikhail Pavstyuk

For more information on Leadership Coaching email me at michael@berealmen.com

Momentum is Everything

IMG_2021After an unproductive day, I woke up the next morning eager to make up for lost time. I needed to get back on track.  Working through my morning routine always helps get the momentum going.  I ground my coffee beans and boiled some water for our french press. I’d have time for a quick shower while the water boiled so I grabbed what I needed and headed for the bathroom.  I turned on the shower faucet.  A few drips of cold water fell from the shower head.  I remembered looking at the temperature on my Iphone earlier.  It read -9 degrees Fahrenheit.  I knew the water lines were frozen.  I sighed with frustration.  My day was already being messed with and I hadn’t even had a cup of coffee yet.  I spent the next 2 hours addressing the problem while the things I planned to accomplish were left unattended. It reminded me of the last time we went to the doctor’s office.  The first appointment was late because of weather and every appointment after was pushed further and further back.

When I get derailed, it’s not the loss of time that most affects me.  It’s the loss of momentum.  It kills me.  I find myself on a downward spiral that causes me to search for immediate comfort.  It’s not a good place.  I start to justify eating what I want, not exercising, resting more and putting things off further. My reaction to loss of momentum is catastrophic!  For some reason, it takes me forever to get back into a rhythm.

Education expert Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like A Champion, studied the characteristics of successful teachers across the nation.  His findings were surprising.  There was a common thread with all successful teachers he studied. They did the mundane things very well.  For example, successful teachers wasted very little time passing out papers.  Yes, time was saved, but more importantly, momentum wasn’t broken.  Lemov estimated that teachers who were intentional about passing out papers quickly, gained 8 additional days of instruction per year.  8 days!  You have to consider not only the time lost, but also the time it takes to recover from distraction and regain momentum.  Think about what one fire drill does to an otherwise fully engaged room full of students.  Things can go from complete control to chaos very quickly but the reverse takes exponentially longer.Train

These days, many are looking for that one silver bullet idea that will launch them into a life of success and riches.  I hope you find it.  In the meantime, protecting your momentum may be the most important key to your success.  Can anyone walk into your office and ask a question whenever they want?  Does every ping on your phone draw your eyes to it’s screen?  Does your email inbox  interrupt you all day long? Forget about the time you lose.  It’s much more serious.  Imagine yourself as a fully loaded train.  When you are focused and uninterrupted, you are unstoppable. Don’t let insignificant distractions cause your train to stop.  The cost of recovery is too great.  Put the right boundaries in place and protect your momentum.  Time is a finite resource, it should be fiercely protected.

Email me at michael@berealmen.com if you’d like my free Daily Routine Checklist.

For more about how to recover when you crash and burn click here: When the Train Falls off the Tracks

 

Grow Like An Infant?

IMG_0070Five days ago, my wife and I had our first child. A 9 pounder! As expected, we haven’t slept much since then. I was reflecting on the past few days and something occurred to me. Wow, this baby has learned so much in just 5 days!

Here are a few highlights:

  • How to breath
  • How to swallow
  • How to poop and pee
  • How to open his eyes
  • How to cough up milk that went down the wrong pipe
  • How to identify his mother

These accomplishments didn’t come without pain. He’s done his fair share of crying. This parallel might be a stretch but bare with me. What allowed him to grow so quickly?

1. He know’s what he wants

Warm milk, sleep, a dry diaper and a comfortable position

2. If he can’t get these things on his own, he quickly let’s others know

A. Here’s a question for you. Do you know what you want? Specifically? How will you get what you want, if you don’t know what that is? “I want to be rich,” or “I want to be well respected” is not even close to specific enough. Take the time to clearly lay out on paper, what you want your life to look like.

B. Okay, so you know what you want but you’re stuck. How long have you kept it to yourself? Are you screaming from the mountaintops? I need help! Are you reaching out to people around you? Are you hiring people to help with the things you are not good at? In the end,  the successful are never praised for their abilities to accomplish great things without help.  There is a reason stories of purely individual success are not told, they don’t exist.

If you want to grow quickly, decide what you want and don’t be too proud to reach out for help.

Feel stuck? Email me at michael@berealmen.com