There is nothing like the enthusiasm of coming to work on a Friday because you know that no matter what fresh hell rains down on you on a Friday, it cannot follow you into the weekend. Well, it can and often does, but let us assume, for now, that what happens at work, stays at work.
While this may act as an excellent reprieve from the stress and deadlines (not to mention annoying co-workers), it may not be a bad idea to bring into our personal life some of the principles we follow at work.
I’ve mentioned before, in one of my other posts, that I used to have another blog prior to starting this one. At the time, I had no clear idea what I wanted to do with it, and as a result it quickly spiraled into something that resembled everything and nothing at the same time. I decided to jump ship and start afresh. It was while I was analyzing the progress I’ve made so far on this one that I realized my approach towards blogging (and other pet projects that I wish to pursue) could do with a healthy dollop of work discipline.
“You don’t have to be great to start; you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar
My day begins at 9.30 am in the morning and I generally leave after 7 p.m. That’s more than 9 hours each day, which brings it to a minimum of 45 hours a week. While the weekend is definitely a time for some much needed TLC, I don’t think I’ll get anything productive done unless I keep aside some time specifically for the projects in mind. I put in a lot of time, effort and focus into my work and I need to sneak some of that drive into my pocket and let it out to play at home, too.
I was watching a Steve Harvey ‘Ask Steve’ segment on Youtube once and he asked a young woman if she had done anything that day that was detrimental to her relationship with her boyfriend. Or the weeks prior to that. And that got me thinking: Have I done anything today or in the weeks before that has helped me or contributed in some way in achieving my targets?
#2 Set the Target
“Don’t call it a dream; call it a plan.” – Anonymous
At work, we know what is expected of us. Most of the time. More or less. And if a new thing suddenly pops up on your plate that wasn’t on it yesterday, well, you’re the one who wanted to impress the boss anyway. But despite the initial uncertainty – read as panic – we manage to get it done. Most of the time. More or less. Because these tasks that are expected of us – the good, the bad and the ugly – are clearly defined. There is a clear outcome that we’re gunning for and it always comes with a timer.
Which brings us to –
#3 Start the Timer
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London
A plan without a timeline loses its urgency; it seduces us into thinking that we have all the time in the world to get it done and one more weekend isn’t going to hurt it a bit. Your target is crisp and clear when you start out. The more you delay, the blurrier it gets until you don’t know what it is you’re aiming at.
You may not finish the project completely by the time the timer goes off but hopefully you’ll be a long way from the Start line. And that’s better than not having started at all.
#4 Timely Reviews
“Should have. Would have. Could have. Didn’t.” – Gabrielle Zevin
When I was fourteen, I wrote a 75 page novel. I never got around to finishing it and likely forgot all about it. Almost three years later, when I was going through some of my old stuff, I found the tattered, frantically-scribbled in notebook. Nearly brought tears to my eyes, that one. Not because it was great or anything; to be honest, it was pretty pathetic. I was sad because I never finished it. At seventeen, I was too disconnected (and jaded) from the world I had created years ago to complete the novel. It didn’t matter if it was great novel or a terrible one, or if it was 500 pages long or barely touching 100; it would’ve been the first novel I had written and that would’ve been a huge thing.
But I didn’t and it was a lesson well learned.
If you have any more practices or tips to add, please drop a comment below!