Each morning, my alarm clock sounds. I am usually up before this; however, I still have the alarm set because as soon as I hear the sound, I know this means it’s go time.
I am an early riser. I always have been.
I wake up early and I move into my usual routine. I keep an eye on the time because I have a schedule to keep. I have a bus to catch and people to see.
I work a lot. Then again, we all work a lot because work is unavoidable.
I have several jobs by the way; some of which I am paid for in a financial sense and others, well, I am still paid in some regard. Only some just pay me more (with the emphasis on more) in a loving and more spiritual sense. I have a work life and a home life, a love life, and a friend life. All of these require time and commitment.
I always go back to the idea my Old Man taught me long ago. Life is work. There is no getting away from this. I remember The Old Man told me about laziness. He told me it takes more work to be lazy than it does to simply get the job done.
I can say that I have seen this. I can say that I have had different jobs throughout my life.
I did door to door sales. I did telemarketing, which was an awful experience for me. I sold identification items in the garment industry. I sold buttons and buckles, and zipper pulls in the fashion industry.
I sold vinyl windows for a short spell. I did this and left before the company was raided and the owners were arrested for embezzlement.
I sold websites and marketing ideas in the optical industry for a while. As a kid, I worked in The Old Man shop’s as a mechanic’s helper. I did plumbing work. I worked on centrifugal pumps, hot water heating systems and boilers. I worked on air conditioning equipment, cooling towers, and control panels, electrical systems, and I did basic plumbing jobs like drains, cold water and hot water lines.
I did paint work too. In fact, I spent an entire summer painting a stairwell on Saturdays from the hours of 6:00am until 2: 00pm.
I was in my late 20’s at the time and not being paid very well, which is why I agreed to paint the stairwell because this was paid on an overtime rate. The stairwell was huge, dimly lit, stinky and damp. But the job paid, so I took it, only to regret it the moment I got started.
I helped install more than 300 automatic faucets in a commercial office building. This was another overtime job.
Same as the painting gig, I spent a lot of time here. Some days, my time was spent well. Other times, I was less productive.
There were times I was angry at my co-workers who showed less effort, which meant I had to do more. There were times when I was frustrated because some of the parts were missing. Either way, I took the job, which meant I had to produce. I had work to do and a commitment to fulfill. I had to do this in a timely basis, which meant I had a deadline to meet.
And who likes deadlines?
Nobody, that’s who.
No matter how I felt, what I thought, and regardless to whomever I was partnered with; I still had to produce.
But this is life. This is no unique by any means. We all go through this in one form or another.
On Sunday mornings, I gear up for an empowerment class, which I hold in the drug rehabilitation center at a county jail in North New Jersey.
One of the oldest jailhouse sayings is, “Do your time. Don’t let your time do you.”
I say this applies in more ways than one. I say this applies to all of us. Either way, regardless to our settings or atmosphere, life still has to be done. Whether we are comfortable, happy, satisfied, or otherwise; life still happens so all we can do is act accordingly and push through..
Attitude is everything.
Productivity is an unemotional mindset. As soon as we tie emotions to our thinking, suddenly, we find ourselves off-track.
We have to navigate away from emotional thinking and steer our way towards rational thought. We need plans and strategies not complaints or concerns.
For example, back when I sold buttons and buckles to garment manufacturers, I had to call production managers. I had to call designers and design managers who were already busy, plus, they were often bombarded by other salespeople. I have been hung up on, cursed at. I had someone curse my mother over the phone.
I needed to be mindful of me. Otherwise, I already predicted the flow of the conversation, which threw me from my sales pitch and tossed me from my goal. I had to stick to my plan. But I’ll admit it. This was not always easy.
An old friend of mine tried his hand in the stock market. He was studying for his exams to be licensed and making calls for a brokerage firm that trained him.
One day, someone cursed his mother in such a way that my friend quietly hung up the phone, took off his little headset that was attached to the phone on his desk. He stood up, removed the jacket of his suit from the back of his chair, and then said out loud, “I’m done.” And that was that. He quit right there on the spot.
The story is funnier when told by my friend; however, I never forgot this because I understood the story from a different perspective.
Attitude is everything
There subconscious ways we keep ourselves from reaching our best possible potential. This happens in life as well as in the workplace.
Multi-tasking, while often a good skill is often a distraction. Consider our cell phones. Think about our text messages, which need to be addressed; yet, we have a project in front of us that as to be done.
We all have deadlines, and let’s face it:
Deadlines can be a bitch!
A friend once told me, “You can’t butter your bread properly if you spread yourself too thin.”
At the time, I was doing too many things at once. However, this compromised my efficiency and effectiveness and kept me from reaching my goals..
To improve, I had to slow down. I did one thing at a time, which allowed me to be more effective. I was also able to complete my projects in their entirety.
One by one, I prioritized my jobs and phone calls. I improved myself and the management of my time schedule. I shortened the length of my phone calls by sticking to bullet points. I achieved my goals, one by one, and improved my productivity.
I have to be aware of the jobs I take on. If I take on too much; I run the risk of burning myself out.
And I get it. Bosses want to see us perform. But they want to see us perform well.
We also seek approval so we try to over-produce but in the long run, this can lead to a lack of clarity, which often leads to careless mistakes and missed opportunities to showcase our best work
There are other aspects that interfere with productivity.
I had to learn to navigate away from certain people, places, things. This applies with behaviors too. I learned to be mindful of the gossip machine and the rumor factory. Not only does this steal from my time but the energy robs me of meeting my best potential. This creates an unsteady work environment, arguments, and, more importantly this is hurtful to others in my workplace. Above all this hurts my best level of productivity.
Work is not always a fun atmosphere. Like I said before, deadlines can be a bitch, which means I am already under the gun.
Wasting time and procrastination is often a reflection of our mindset, which is just another way of saying, “I really don’t want to do this!”
This goes back to what my Old Man taught me long ago. It takes more work to be lazy than it does to just focus and get the job done.
Emotions are very real, however, one thing for sure is we are all human. Life happens. Divorce happens. Arguments happen and accidents happen. Commutes can be tough, traffic jams; crowded trains, buses, and subways stations are not always the friendliest of places. Either way, we still have a race to run. We still have to be at work on time.
Anxiety is very real. So is depression. The need for self-care is extremely important. This helps us when facing a lack of validation from our supervisors or managers. This allows us to validate ourselves instead of seeking outside or external recognition. Hence, we fulfill ourselves rather than look for something external to fill an internal void.
Not all managers manage properly and not all supervisors are kind or recognize the extra effort. Therefore, by focusing on our own personal goals and achievements, we find a sense of personal validation, which in turn, allows us to produce and improve.
Stay away from the internal narrative. Do not give into the arguments in our head. This creates loss and distraction.
Regardless to what we want, think, or feel, there is only so much we can control. Therefore by doing our best possible steps, we can control our output and produce at our best ability.
Be mindful of intimidation. Giving into intimidation; whether this is due to fellow co-workers or due to the job itself is only a distraction. Losing focus only makes the workday longer. So keep going. Trust me, you’ll be grateful you did.
Time management is everything. Avoid over-thinking. Too many meetings and too much talking can often result in a lack of execution and application. This too will cause a drop in our productivity.
Remember, home life is home life and work life is work. Although the two are directly related, don’t being home to work and don’t bring work home.
The truth is everyone has life problems. It is understandable that we need to take days off, which is why we have personal days and sick days and vacation time. Employers understand this.
I once heard an employer discussing an employee’s frequent absence and tardiness. This became problematic for others in the workplace and caused a problem with some of their projects.
The employee explained there were struggles at home, which the employer honored by saying, “I understand you have problems at home. But we have problems here that need your attention.”
I get it. Life happens. But still, no matter what happens we all have a life to live and we all have work to be done. We still have to do our time, which means it’s best that we do our time before our time does us.
The idea of wellness is to create a state of healthy well-being, both physically and emotionally. To be well is to be balanced even in unbalanced time. Wellness is an approach to a healthy lifestyle; however, wellness to me might not mean the same thing as wellness to anyone else.
This is personal.
Everyone has their own way they relate to information, which is why everyone has their own path towards wellness. The idea is to find and understand this path so that although life happens and deadlines are still a bitch; at least we can still operate at our best possible potential. This helps us at home as well as in the workplace.
We have to find our best pathways. We need to understand our abilities and our inabilities. We need to know when to step away, when to be quiet, and when to speak up.
I had to understand the reasoning behind my behaviors and how to steer away from emotional responses. Passion for our work and a strong work effort is important but emotion can often confuse our navigation . . .
(It’s like driving someplace you’ve never been to before with an emotionally upset GPS system that overly explains every turn.)
In an effort to be well, it was important to learn the difference being assertive and aggressive. I learned there is a difference in confidence and arrogance. I learned that we all have a life. We all go through life’s terms. And we all have a race of our own, so come what may, we still have a race to run.
Our main objective is to live a good life.
Truth is this takes work.
So we can’t be lazy.
Otherwise, we’ll just have to work harder in the end.