Thursday, July 14, 2011

How to not work

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
  - George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists

I love the book The Four-Hour Workweek. I love The Energy Project. And I love this Harvard Business Review blog post.

The gist of these grand tales is that we should stop working so much, and start prioritizing our lives to be what we want them to be. The risk inherent in this, of course, is that a) we fail to meet deadlines, b) we fail to look like we're working as hard as other people, c) we fail to get as much stuff done. So I think we're seeing that it's a fear of failure here (at least it is in my world).

But I like the principles and I am learning from my new manager (of about 6 weeks now) that this is actually possible. If you ignore the chatter of the silly, you can focus on the challenges that matter. One more book for you: Long Fuse, Big Bang. This one has a great quote that really stuck with me - "Don't let the tyranny of the urgent stifle the pursuit of the important."

Set aside time to think. Prioritize prioritization. Calm your mind and reflect on the day behind you. Then calm your mind and prepare your head for the day in front of you.

Now, to get to that 4-hour workweek... (though I'm fairly certain I could never really just work just four hours a week as I would be bored out of my mind...)


yishun at The Hub said...

But the other inherent part in this is that we eventually come around to doing what we truly love to do, and only what we truly love to do, don't you think? And, in an almost-perfect world, you can't really fail to meet deadlines, work as hard, or, really, fail at anything, if you love what you do. (Paperwork and other sundries, of course, aside.)
Thanks for another thought-provoking post!

cheshirecat said...

I think you're right that the ultimate goal would be to only do what you love to do. Perhaps it's an exercise in scaling so that you have the right expertise managing the pieces that are time-consuming, administrative, or not your area of interest so that you can focus on the priorities (and hopefully the fun stuff). That is the only thing I can imagine that would help make it possible. I still ogle over the VPs and C-level folks who have such demanding roles, yet sit on multiple nonprofits boards and find time to give keynote presentations. And have children. Oh, and sleep. I keep reading books and blogs that interview and explain how it's possible, and it still just fascinates me. I'm not sure I've made it to actually *believing* that it's possible yet!