Category Archives: Motivation

What Is Required of an Employee?

This is the crux of the owner-dilemma. How does the owner be both boss and employee? How is the day divided into boss-things and worker-things? How does the boss-part get the worker-part to do the work?

Good Employee Traits

  • He is expected to show up at work on time, and to work until the shift is over.
  • She is expected to execute the activities of the job requirements with precision and efficiency.
  • He is expected to earn his wage and be a positive contributor to the bottom line.
  • She is not expected to fritter away the day in idle pursuits.
  • He is not expected to cover over major or minor errors.
  • She is not expected to be a hindrance to company progress.
  • He is not expected to be a negative influence on other employees.

All in all, an employee is a desirable asset to the company, one who is productive and worthwhile.

Are YOU a Good Employee?

How am I a Good employee? I am not. I do the minimum required to get the day done. I avoid the repetitive drudge that makes a business go. I know what needs to be done, but I don’t do it. I know what I shouldn’t do, but I do it anyway. I should be let go. I can’t get over with just my good looks alone, I have to add value to the company by my presence and actions.

That is what I have as my most unproductive attitude. I don’t work unless pressed into it. Deadlines get me to so the necessary things. I avoid the clerical tasks – UNLESS – they keep me from the even harder work of creatively advancing the business agenda.

How hard is it to do the work? How difficult to sit down and grind it out? When did it become impossible to make time to do the little things that advance business? Why can’t I read and implement simple marketing texts? What is WRONG with me?

Are you waiting for success to strike from above, or ambush you when you’re not looking? Do you expect success to be like the lottery. “I don’t need to do anything except buy the ticket.” How absurd!

I’m you’re an intelligent and capable person who can take on any task and succeed. Do you somehow choose to do otherwise. Are you a self-defeating mechanism. I don’t think my way into a day, don’t pay attention to any of my priorities, and don’t execute when I am forced to.

I do the minimums.  I should get the minimums.

What the Boss Needs to Do

What I need to do each day is to:

  • KNOW what I need to do.
  • PLAN how I need to do it.
  • WRITE the Plan down so I won’t forget.
  • EXECUTE the Plan.
  • EVALUATE the Execution and the Plan.
  • CHOOSE to do it again.

Every day is my only opportunity to advance. Tomorrow might never arrive. Yesterday is gone. The ONLY time is NOW.

DO IT NOW!

Procrastination – Success Killer

I was going to write a great article on this, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. You can tell because it has been weeks since I last came here to write.

Isn’t that the story of procrastination?

No, that is the result. The story is more complex than that for most of us.

Procrastination is the act of not acting productively. Procrastination substitutes busyness for action. Procrastination is a behavior and habit of not doing what needs to be done.

I procrastinate in more ways than I care to list. Most times because the task at hand isn’t “fun”. Other times, it’s because I get distracted and chase shiny objects. And other times, I never get my day started right, and I just react to random inputs instead of focusing on what needs to be done. I rarely pay attention to my list of things to do. I’m GOOD at procrastinating.

Most deadly is an unacknowledged fear that if I start this project, I will not succeed, so why start? Or, worse, that I WILL succeed. And if I succeed, I’m afraid of the unknown results and consequences. Those consequences might bring tasks or situations that will be beyond my ability to handle, and it MIGHT end up in me failing after all.

So why start?

I have to convince myself that failure is OK. Well, I know that! I’ve failed plenty of times in my life. Some have been pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself. It hasn’t killed me yet. I know that failure is only a state of mind, not a condition of life. I know that failures teach me things so that I will be less likely to fail in the future. I know that I am not defined by my failures, but by my actions and attitudes as a result of them.

Success brings a new set of problems and more opportunities for failure. Falling from a higher ledge only makes the landing that much more painful. Why subject myself to an increase in pain and dejection? Because from that higher ledge, I can see so much more opportunity for fulfillment and success.

Because success brings good things, too. If my goals are related to helping other people learn and grow, I get the joy of seeing that happen. I get happiness from their joy. I might even get wealth and respect. I certainly will get a personal sense of satisfaction and an increased sense of capability. I am a Winner!

So, procrastination is a mental battle between me and my destiny. I might like the thrill of working under pressure and deadlines. I might like the attention it brings when others are reliant on my success. I might just hate doing what I need to do. It is boring or I am not good at it or I don’t even know how to do it. These attitudes and rewards from procrastination are habits that I’ve cultivated over the years.

These are simply mental issues. They are conditions of my mind that I have to wrestle with and overcome. It is I that has the responsibility to manage Me. It is My task to stay on task. It is Me who holds the key to productivity and success.

I have to develop the habits and discipline to get started, to continue, and continue until I reach the end.

And that is the secret to success: Start. Continue. Finish.

Are You Busy, or Do You Take Action?

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks being Very Busy. As a consequence, I haven’t managed to get very much done.,

Is this a conundrum?

Being Busy

Being busy is a state of being that isn’t always productive. Remember when you didn’t want to do something for someone, and you told them you were busy? Busy is just an excuse for not doing what needs to be done.

You can be busy reading email, or straightening your desk, or researching design or code intricacies, or Stumbling around or on Digg or Reddit or Facebook… Some of it even “good”. And you will fritter away all the day until there is nothing left.

Action

Action, on the other hand, is fundamentally productivity-oriented. You must take Action to get something done. Action implies progress. Action is central to accomplishing anything worthwhile.

How to Replace Busy with Action

As I reviewed my weeks, I noted that I had no plan for any of my days. I just took what came along. I gave in to Impulse. To convert Busy to Action for me was to select one central task, and to Focus on it until I had finished it.

Action requires Goals and Focus. Without both, Action is only busy.

How do you stave off Busy-ness and replace it with Action?

The Journey, Not the Goal

What makes for a good day? What are the ingredients for fulfillment? Is is just the pursuit of a worthwhile goal, or is there something else?

“The pursuit of a worthwhile goal” almost sounds like chasing a butterfly through the woods. It is a beautiful thing. The journey takes you through some amazing natural constructions. But, your focus is on the butterfly, because to lose sight of it is to lose it altogether.

The butterfly flutters here and there, jinking its way to whatever random nectar wafts its way to its waiting receptors. So, the pursuit of a worthwhile goal may turn out to be a focused chase of a random event. This is not an acceptable condition.

Rather, we should take that same journey through the woods, but our destination is the craggy mountaintop in the distance – the one covered in glaciers and boulders as big as houses. There might not be a trail all the way up. Someone has blazed one partway, and the crowds have trampled a wide thoroughfare in some parts, but the journey is ours to plan and to conduct.

We see the goal. We draw it, paint it, project it on our walls. We view it through telescope, binoculars. We find maps for the surrounding area and pore over them until we know every stream, valley, ridge, and copse. We visit the area to find suitable launch spots and trailheads. We inquire of locals about known and secret vistas along the way.

We mark off our trail on our maps, plot out the stops along the way, calculate our caloric burn and how much food to bring. We manage our gear lists so we can carry it all. We arrange for transport, for food and water caches along the way. We arrange for time off, for care for the empty house, for emergency contact. We communicate our plans and goals to select individuals so we’ll have a support team. We save our money so we can purchase equipment and supplies.

We plot our every daily milestones after calculating our pace. The map is well-known to us, though we’ve never set foot there. We take our cameras and painting kits. We want not only to reach the top, but to inhale the flowers and pines along the way. We want to etch the vistas into our memories, to experience the thrill of walking among a herd of elk, of eating fresh-caught trout for breakfast, of touching living stone, drinking from icy glacier-melt. We don’t just want to reach the top, we want to live the journey. We also take side-trips and linger in spots more beautiful in life than in our original plans. We adjust and adapt as circumstances come to us.

That is what the pursuit of a worthwhile goal is about. Not a mindless rush to the top, ignoring all but the goal, but an aware adventure that pays far more in the journey than the goal alone can provide.