Inevitably, however, comes the day when you will start having doubts.
I did go through this too, by the way. A number of times. Probably a lot more times I’m comfortable admitting.
Other times, we’re worried because we don’t feel like we’re in control. We’re worried that we’re only a victim of circumstances and everything we do is kind of reactive or even accidental in nature.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’ve been doing okay, but I feel that taking this to the mysterious next level won’t happen if I’m not in control of my projects and my actions entirely.
So here’s my plan and the approach I’m taking to make it happen. A big part of this is mindset-related, so proceed with caution if you’re more about the direct go-do advice.
I know this sounds drop-dead basic so far, but bear with me.
Now, when you’re working on a computer, or even worse, the internet is your main work tool then you’re pretty screwed. That’s because distinguishing work from relaxation is virtually impossible.
- Work. You’re sitting (or standing) at your desk, looking at your screen, browsing through the admin panel of yourdomain.com and typing a message.
- Relaxation. You’re sitting at your desk, looking at your screen, browsing though someone’s profile at facebook.com and typing a message.
These are essentially the same environments. I mean, the difference for your conscious brain is obvious, but for your primal brain, it’s not obvious at all. This small change – the specific website you’re on, makes it really confusing for your brain to determine if you’re at work or trying to relax.
For ages, we’ve only been doing physical work, and our brains got used to that concept. That’s why physical workers have no problems at all relaxing after a day’s worth of hard work. They can switch in a matter of seconds due to the environment change. We cannot.
This whole probably a bit boring story brings me to one conclusion. And it’s this:
If we want to tame our work time entirely, which is the first step to re-gaining control, we need to start using our main work tool (our PC or Mac) for work only.
And I don’t only mean the obvious, which is avoiding distraction during your work time. I actually mean not using them at all for relaxation purposes.
Once this habit is set for good, our brains will learn, adapt, and eventually let us be in control when we’re working.
So, the big question is what to do when you want to relax with some internet entertainment by your side? Considering my strict rules regarding your work-PC, the only solution I can see is using an entirely different device for relaxation.
For example, if you want to relax, you can take your iPad, or your spouse’s tablet and sit in this nice comfy chair by the window, instead of remaining at your desk.
Planning long term
We all know the basics of constructing a plan. What you do is pick a goal, write an outline on how you’re going to achieve it, and then start executing it. But short term planning doesn’t protect you from falling victim to those one-off techniques and methods that you’ll stumble upon on the web almost every day.
- Focus on handling the tasks that you’ve planned for first, before going after anything new and exciting.
- Whenever you do come across something interesting, ask yourself if it has the potential to make the execution of your main plan better or faster. If not, then don’t even bother testing the thing out.
- In general, focus 80% of your time on executing your core plan and handling the tasks specified in it, and only 20% of your time testing new things.
Being on the top of the mountain and knowing every new technique out there is very trendy these days, but try looking at it from an old-school perspective… Let’s take Nike as our example. Do you think that the overall man-hours spent in that huge company is on new technique and idea development, or on simple sneakers-assembly? Since we do have Nike sneakers in the stores all over the world, I guess it’s the latter.
The benefits can be huge. I’m sure of it. No one has ever gotten to the next level by just going through the motions and dealing with their business on a day-to-day reactive basis. The real success is about being in control of your business and your career as a whole.
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