Advertising
Advertising

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

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

More by this author

7 Uses for a Virtual Machine When Emailing Think Press Release Mail, BrainDump, Mail, Do Stretch Goals Matter You Had me at Insane

Trending in Lifehack

1 What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero 2 13 Common Life Problems And How To Fix Them 3 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 4 How to Be Your Best Self And Get What You Want 5 How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 8, 2020

What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

Ah, Inbox Zero. An achievement that so many of us long for. It’s elusive. It’s a productivity benchmark. It’s an ongoing battle.

It’s also unnecessary.

Don’t get me wrong, the way Inbox Zero was initially termed is incredibly valuable. Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.[1]

Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.

But it’s not about that. Not at all.

Advertising

Here’s what inbox zero actually is, as defined by Mann:

“It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

The Fake Inbox Zero

The sense of fulfillment one gets from clearing out everything in your inbox is temporary at best, disappointing at worst. Often we find that we’re shooting for Inbox Zero just so that we can say that we’ve got “everything done that needed to be done”. That’s simply not the case.

Certainly, by removing all of your things that sit in your inbox means that they are either taken care of or are well on their way to being taken care of. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often applied to clearing out your inbox. But unless you’ve actually done something with the stuff, it’s either not worth having in your inbox in the first place or is still sitting in your “mental inbox”.

You have to do something with the stuff, and for many people, that is a hard thing to do. That’s why Inbox Zero – as defined by Mann – is not achieved as often as many people would like to believe. It’s this “watered down” concept of Inbox Zero that is completed instead. You’ve got no email in your inbox and you’ve got no paper on your desk’s inbox. So that must mean you’re at Inbox Zero.

Advertising

Until the next email arrives or the next document comes your way. Then you work to get rid of those as quickly as possible so that you can get back to Inbox Zero: The Lesser again. If it’s something that can be dealt with quickly, then you get there. But if they require more time, then soon you’ve got more stuff in your inboxes. So you switch up tasks to get to the things that don’t require as much time or attention so that you can get closer to this stripped down variation of Inbox Zero.

However, until you deal with the bigger items, you don’t quite get there. Some people feel as if they’ve let themselves (or others) down if they don’t get there. And that, quite frankly, is silly. That’s why this particular version of Inbox Zero doesn’t work.

The Ultimate Way to Get to Inbox Zero

So what’s the ultimate way to get to Inbox Zero?

Have zero inboxes.

The inbox is meant to be a stop along the way to your final destination. It’s the place where stuff sits until you’re ready to put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it.

Advertising

So why not skip the inbox altogether? Why not put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it? Because that requires immediate action. It means you need to give the item some thought and attention.

You need to step back and look at it rather than file it. That’s why we have a catch-all inbox, both for email and for analog items. It allows us to only look at these things when we’re ready to do so.

The funny thing is that we can decide when we’re ready to without actually looking at the inbox beforehand. We can look at things on our own watch rather than when we are alerted to or feel the need to.

There is no reason why you need an inbox at all to store things for longer than it sits there before you see it. None. It’s a choice. And the choice you should be making is how to deal with things when you first see them, rather than when to deal with things you haven’t looked at yet.

Stop Faking It

Seeing things in your inboxes is simply using your sight. Looking at things in your inbox when you first see them is using insight.

Advertising

Stop checking email more than twice per day. Turn off your alerts. Put your desk’s inbox somewhere that it can be accessed by others and only accessed by you when you’re ready to deal with what’s in it. Don’t put it on your desk – that’s productivity poison.

If you want to get to Inbox Zero — the real Inbox Zero — then get rid of those stops along the way. You’ll find that by doing that, you’ll be getting more of the stuff you really want done finished much faster, rather than see them moving along at the speed of not much more than zero.

More Productivity Tips to Get Organized

Featured photo credit: Web Hosting via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merlin Mann: Inbox Zero

Read Next