virgin islands scene

What does not destroy me, makes me strong.
-- Friedrich Neitzche
 

 

Tuesday, January 2, 1996

Back to Work

It’s the first working day of the New Year. 1996 -- a whole new year ahead of us. A whole year to put plans into action, to make dreams a reality. Many people have had a few days or a few weeks away from work. Now it’s time to get back to work.

The accepted wisdom is that we must work hard to get ahead. But that’s not really true. It doesn’t really matter how hard you work. What matters is how much you get done. Many people fall into the trap of doing a lot of work without ever getting anything done.

How does one get out of that trap? You start by learning to value yourself and your time. You must believe that your are a worthwhile, valuable individual with something unique to contribute to the world. When you adopt that mindset, you’ll realize what a shame it is to waste your time. You’ll want to find ways to be more productive because you’ll value your own time so highly. Among those ways to be more productive:

Learn to say no. Unfortunately, people will take advantage of you if you let them. If they know that you’ll do their work for them, then they’ll let you. If they’re doing something equally valuable in return, that’s no problem. The problem comes when they start to take advantage of you. In the long run, no one benefits. You get bogged down in unproductive activity, and they develop a dependency mindset. For your sake and theirs, learn to say no -- firmly and politely.

Deal with things as they come up. Problems don’t go away by themselves -- they just get worse. If you don’t deal with things immediately, you waste time worrying about them. And by the time you get around to dealing with them, it usually takes more time and effort than if you had handled it earlier.

Keep focused. There are hundreds of distractions that can knock you off task. Find a way to focus on your goals. Write them down and review them several times a day. More importantly, find a reason behind what you’re doing. When you’re confident of what you’re doing, and of why you’re doing it, you will stay focused.

Never stop learning. Always be on the lookout for new ways to do something. Just because you’ve done something the same way for 3 years doesn’t mean that’s the best way to do it. Step outside your box and look for new and different ways to work.

Remember -- it’s not how hard you work, it’s how much you get done that counts. Keep yourself focused on what needs to be done, and you’ll get to where you want to be.

— Ralph Marston

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Copyright ©1996 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All Rights Reserved. The Daily Motivator is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Other than personal sharing, please do not re-distribute without permission.