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Passion as a Work Multiplier

Passion as a Work Multiplier

Warning: Your Mileage May Vary on this specific post. Consider this an open idea, or a hack in progress.

I work best when I thread my professional efforts and my personal projects together in the same space. I might have a window open on the computer and in it, I’m defining a process flow for a new engagement model, and in another, I am writing a post to share with you here on Lifehack.org. Later in the day, it might be a mix of sending off emails to vendor partners and drawing in my sketchbook. When, for whatever reason, I put down my personal projects and hunker down into the business of the day, I often feel less engaged.

This would’ve escaped my notice had I not found myself having the same conversation twice with two different people today, both claiming that they seemed to feel much more energy to do their “day job” work when they mixed in a little bit of their personal passions alongside it.

Woodchoppers All

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Often times, I joke with software engineers that we should all quit our jobs and become lumberjacks. At least then, we’d have tangible proof that our efforts mattered. When code gets thrown out, when projects get canceled, when forces much larger than ourselves shift things in a direction we can’t control, things feel daunting, maybe even close to hopeless. It’s easy in those situations to take one’s foot of the gas.

But what if you had a way to stir some of your own personal passions in between the cracks of what it is you do to make a buck? What if you could guarantee much more passionate output on what you’re being paid to do by being permitted to thread into your day that which really ignites a spark in you?

Passion Allowance

For most of us, our reaction to feeling the malaise about our contributions not really impacting the organization as much as we want is to retreat into something innocuous. Some of us reorganize our email systems. Others recommit to smoking. Some just take longer and longer lunch breaks and leave early as many days as they can.

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Bosses see it, I’m sure. For some, they just don’t know what they can do to motivate. For others, they get the sense that they wish they could do the same thing.

What if there were an option for your supervisor to say, “Hey Ramesh, I know things have been a bit bad lately. Tell me what you wish you were doing right now.”

Okay, for some, the answer might be “fishing,” or “go home,” or similar, but if you and your supervisor felt you could truly talk about it, if it were a company imperative for people to be as engaged as they possibly could be, wouldn’t a “passion allowance” be an interesting way to keep the juices flowing.

For example, I recently attended the Podcast Academy in Boston, and I came back really invigorated about how our company might be able to employ podcasts internally as communications and learning tools, and externally, as a way to promote what it is we do to our prospective new customers. I was fired up, and I knocked down my VP’s door over and over to tell him about some other ways to spin what I’d learned into a neat company project.

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Oddly, my assigned work flourished at this same time, regardless of the final outcome of the podcast request.

Would it Hurt Production?

I believe we’re already finding ways to drag against production when things get daunting, when we feel overworked, when our best efforts feel like they’re for not. I believe our current methods are all negative, but also all easier to hide. We can discretely slow things down far easier than we can openly embrace things we’re passionate about.

So maybe yes. There might be a hit to productivity as opposed to sticking strictly to the job at hand, but I can imagine where the return on investement would be showing up: in excitement, in overall satisfaction, in a near-tangible electricity about what it is you’re passionate about, balanced by your current job.

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There are several ways people consume time during an average work day. “Work” rarely takes up all the hours we populate our places of employment. What differences could mixing passion in with the work at hand bring?

As I said, this probably will warrant lots of interesting commentary, especially heavy on the “there’s no way that would fly at MY place.” But I wonder how much of what we consider our standard work environment is considered far more permissive than the office spaces of 1964. Could it be this is yet another shift in the cultural needle that must happen to accommodate new trends in the way people get things done? What do you think?

–Chris Brogan writes about self-improvement and creativity at [chrisbrogan.com]. He will be attending BarCamp Boston in June, and would love to meet you there.

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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