This Might Work!

My job is not subject to hourly requirements.

This is a fancy way of saying that I can work when I want to, within certain boundaries.  I do have to work, unless there is nothing going on.  I never have to come to work and sit there.  There are no time clocks.  I hate those things, anyway.


Fact of the matter is that I don’t do that much real work.  I don’t do ANY real work in the old-timer sense, where I have actual physical labor that I perform.  No, I push paper around and rearrange pixels on a computer screen.  Still, the work of connecting people that need money with people that have money pays, so it must have some value.  Problem is, it’s very hard to quantify that work.  Can I do it in 10 minutes a day?  Can I do it in half an hour?  An hour?  Two?  Five?

I didn’t know.  A month ago it became important to me to discover how much time I was really spending working at my mortgage business in any given week.  This is time exclusive of Rotary meetings, exclusive of teaching school, exclusive of Heart-2-Home Board meetings, even exclusive of time I spend at work but surfing the Internet.  So I counted, and I’ve been counting for four weeks.

No, I will not share the results.  They embarrass me.  And I think I came a ways toward discovering one of the reasons that my success has not been as incandescent at it otherwise ought to be.

With all due respect to Tim Ferriss, whom I admire greatly, right now it is important to me personally to put some time into my business.  I want always to make that time more productive, but at the moment all I’m counting IS productive time, so that takes some care of itself.  I made a commitment to a partner that I would work – really do productive work – for at least a certain number of hours a week, even though I don’t strictly have to.  It’s been interesting.

But the reason for this post is that today was a victory.  I was a few hours short coming into this morning, as in, in a normal workday I would not get to my commitment for the week, which would necessitate my working on Saturday, a thing I almost never do (for good reasons).  When the baby got me up at 4:30, instead of going back to bed, I got dressed, went downstairs, and began to work.  Not at all coincidentally, I was able to make progress on some things that have been neglected, things that I believe will allow me to generate more work for myself and more business for the company.  Being a creator, I saw that this was good.

It would never have happened if I hadn’t set a time commitment for myself, and that would never have happened if I hadn’t started measuring what I was actually doing with my time.  It’s only one day.  But this thing might actually work.

2 Responses to “This Might Work!”

  • It’s funny how much work gets done when we just get on with doing some work.

  • Tod Hansmann says:

    I recently discovered that over the last several years I have lost my ability to focus and I overthink what work I do because of it. This basically amounts to me running around in circles, and only part of that cycle being what I would call productive progress.

    Since then, I’ve cut out a lot of distractions (emails like this are not one of those I cut out). I often say to myself, “Don’t think about how to do it. Do it, and you’ll think along the way where necessary.” It’s gotten about 100x more work done in the last few days that I’ve been applying it. Makes me feel better, too.

    Maybe we all could benefit from a little more focus. WSJ had an article about how some studies are showing we’re becoming less and less able to focus as we consume more and more distracting media. Ads everywhere, massive amounts of everyday things vying for our attention, the pressure to “multi-task” as it were. I don’t know how true it is or not, but I know I personally have the problems described for whatever reason. Hopefully we’ll all get better and get more work done =c)

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