In today’s networked world of the internet, Google, social media, e-mail, podcasts, blogs, and the list goes on, it is easy for others to find someone who is doing better work than us if we opt for mediocre or just good enough.
The best work we are capable of now is all that we can aim for and that requires us to focus on that thing and that alone.
Therein lies the paradox, we have the amazing opportunity of a potentially limitless audience for our work. However, the more time we spend in the shallow networked world, the poorer our focus will be on producing our best work.
Working in depth and with total focus on work that really counts is the skill that will enable us to survive the networked world and become valuable. Nothing of any great value comes easy or is produced without a deep focus.
Being constantly on the network will ensure we build no value.
We have leisure time and while we watch a film, read a book, go for a walk, go to the cinema, see friends and so on we think about the tasks, chores, work etc we didn’t complete during the non-leisure working time.
Then we get to work, to our tasks, actions and so on and we resent the fact that we did not get relaxed and good leisure time, so we auto-sabotage our work and then the cycle continues because when it’s play time again, we feel guilty.
Often this is on auto-repeat through our lives.
How can we stop this?
Four things I have found that can help. Firstly set a shutdown time at which point work stops whatever until the next morning. Secondly, because of the shutdown, and once we learn to relax, we can separate work and play. Thirdly, when we are working remember the guilt feeling and focus on only the work that is super important first. Lastly, take small simple steps at work that are easy to complete and are not onerous or feel like a chore, that means we’re more likely to do it.
Simple, eh! Well as always it is a journey of getting even better and work in progress.
Four books I’d recommend for this would be Cal Newport’s Deep Work, Neil Fiore’s The Now Habit, Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect and finally Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog.