Thursday, July 2, 2015

When You Don't Feel Like It

Sleeping Dog
There are days when I don't feel like working.

As jobs go, mine is pretty nice. I work with talented and pleasant colleagues and serve talented, interesting and nice customers. The work is diverse and interesting. Even so, there are days when I don't feel like working.

There are days when the link between activity and results seems so remote that work seems senseless. There are days when some other issue is creating so much mental distraction that work feels unimportant. There are days when staring out the window, reading a good book, or going for a walk seems far more appealing than talking on the phone or typing an email.

Like many in the modern economy, these feelings are particularly dangerous because I work frequently from home and my work is mostly self directed. I could probably get away with not working very hard for quite some time. But, I do the work anyway.

The most reliable key to success in any endeavor is consistency.  You can't learn to play the clarinet or hit a golf ball straight without frequent practice. You can't grow your sales base without constantly reaching out to contact new people. You can't satisfy your existing customers without consistently following through to provide the products they want and resolving their concerns. You can't build a strong investment portfolio if you sell every time an analyst lowers a rating.

It takes discipline to stick to a plan even when you don't feel like it, but over time it becomes a habit that gets easier. If you force yourself to get started, you soon get into the flow and get some things done. And eventually, the efforts begin to produce results.

Sometimes plans really don't work and need to be revised. But those types of changes need to be the result of patient evaluation of results over a reasonable period of time.  Not based upon the feeling of the day.

What do you feel like doing today?

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