Sunday, August 1, 2010

What Why Who


Still further evidence that we are working ourselves into an early grave can be found in the article ‘A hard working nation that’s losing its balance’. To quote the article:

AUSTRALIANS are increasingly dissatisfied by their employment conditions, with many risking their health through long working hours. 

and

A survey of 10,000 people to be released this week reveals Australians are becoming increasingly unhappy with their work-life balance.

The most tragic result seems to be the deterioration in health, which strangely enough means that you’ll probably end being able to actually work less hours! Go figure. Another hidden side effect is the lack of good regular sleep but that’s another blog post.

There seems to be this equation of working longer and harder being the only way to get things done. I’d challenge that and say that people have allowed more distractions to enter their lives and the workplace preventing them from getting things done. I’d also say that there is a belief that people think they can to do ‘everything’. Well, I’m sorry to say that there are only so many hours in a day and most people won’t get everything done they want to on a regular basis so deal with it.

Perhaps people should firstly ask ‘What am I doing?’. If you never have enough time have you ever stopped to look at exactly how you spend you time? Have you even kept a log and analysed where the time goes? Probably not. If you want to make a change, first you need to understand where you are. I’ll almost bet that if you kept a detailed log of how you allocated your time you’d immediately find plenty of examples of things that you shouldn’t have been wasting time on.

Next is the question of ‘Why am I doing it?’. There are plenty of things everyday that we NEED to do and there are other things we LIKE to do. Typically, what we LIKE to do isn’t what we NEED to do is it? But that doesn’t mean that we can ignore them. We simply have to prioritize. We NEED to work out a priority for each task and allocate our time accordingly. Perhaps the secret here is to do a little regular planning. Everyday you need to spend some time with your to-do list and work out what NEEDS to be done now, today, tomorrow, this week and NEVER (don’t forget that working out what NOT to do is also critical)! The trick is to allocate this time regularly. Best bets are usually first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

Now ask ‘Who am I?’. Everyone is different and it is no use living someone else’s life is it? If you are married you have commitments to your family as well as yourself then you can’t act as though you’re single without ramifications. If you are a night owl then it isn’t much use trying to force yourself to constantly get up early. Everyone is different and understanding what makes you tick can save you a lot of frustration. As silly as it sounds maybe the thing that you should do is sit down and answer the question of what makes you truly happy? Once you are honest with yourself about who you are what you want from life you are way out in front and much more likely to achieve it because at least you now know what you want instead of spending hours at work wondering.

As I have commented many time here, we have more technology, opportunity and access to information than we have ever had before, yet we seem to be locking ourselves into small and smaller cages cut off from all the best things in life, the things that we say we want but never seem to have the time for. If you never have time for them why are you busting your butt for them? Sounds like delusion to me.

Time is the most precious commodity we have and for some reason most people seem to want to spend it all working and because they do this they believe everyone else should be as well. You should be looking to those that can help you improve your effectiveness and efficiency not simply provide more distractions. If you are just doing the same old thing and complaining that it never gets any better then I think I have every right to call you a ‘dumb-ass’. If you however are looking to change, learning how to change and actually making change no matter how small then I applaud you and will do whatever I can to help.

So, step off the treadmill, take a look at yourself, what you do and why you do it. Set your own agenda to live life the way that you want to, not the way other people say you should because you only get one life and it is way too short to waste. In short, work to live not live to work (or in this case, die).