Workin’ Hard or Hardly Workin’?

office-space-stephen-root-as-milton

 

We all work hard and it seems like there’s always more work to be done.

I’ve noticed something about myself and I’m wondering if it’s the same for you. When I plan out my day and stick to the plan I get a ton done.

When I just have an idea of what I’m going to do, I don’t get as much done. Yet, I still feel like I worked just as hard. How does that happen?

This morning I realized how it happens for me.

I work from home in the mornings and I had great plans on important things to do. Then I decided I needed to upload the video of my daughter’s recent musical performance. My phone didn’t sync with my Mac, so I had to download a program – 30 minutes gone.

Then I noticed a few hundred photos on my phone that were taking up space so I decided I needed to upload select photos from my phone to my Mac – another 20 minutes gone.

And so it went:

Check my email — four different accounts – 25 minutes

Send YouTube video I created to a contact (and watch some of my old ones) – 30 minutes

Check FB messages and notifications – 5 minutes

Renew my library books online – 5 minutes

I finally shook myself and realized that although I felt like I was working I had spent almost 2 hours doing absolutely nothing on my daily planner. Not good.

I hadn’t planned well, and I wasn’t even sticking to my not so great plan. It wasn’t that the things I was doing were bad, it’s just that they were taking me away from the more productive things I really wanted to get done.

Focus, Grasshopper, focus.

When I stick to my plan and work in hour blocks on my most important thing that aligns with my purpose, great things happen.

We can spend all day working on things that aren’t very important, or we can focus on the things that really matter. At the end of the day we’ll be tired either way.

The first way is an empty, dissatisfied, frustrated tired.

The second way is a job well done, life is good, earned relaxation now kind of tired. I love days like that.

Let’s GO!

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Taking Time to Think is Not Being Lazy

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Being called lazy is one of the worst things you can call an American. We take great pride in being busy and working hard.

But, what if working really hard looks like you’re being lazy? Isn’t that what happens when you’re thinking? But isn’t that where we make the biggest advances in everything we do?

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.

Henry Ford

Henry Ford told his engineers that they should spend time everyday just thinking. He knew that was how they would come up with improvements for the factory line and new models of cars. Busy work wouldn’t do it.

Einstein published his five most famous papers while working as a junior patent clerk in a Swiss patent office. He said he had more time to think at that job, than he did once he became a science professor working at a University.

We need to schedule time to think. It is virtually impossible to be at your creative best in 5 to 10-minute increments. You can’t invent the next best thing when you let your email and text messages constantly interrupt your flow.

Thinking doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re doing some of the hardest and best work there is.

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.”

― Lorraine Hansberry

Action steps: 1) Block out one or two hours to think. Don’t allow any interruptions. If you can’t do this everyday, pick two or three days a week to do it. Let others know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

2) Write down every thought that comes to you that could be useful.

3) Take your best ideas and think again about how to put them into practice.

Questions for comment: How do you find time to think? What benefits come from it?

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Albert Einstein