Unlike some high-tech workers I have met, computers and technology are not the
sole focus of my life. I have many varied interests, some computer-related,
others not. In fact, at any one time I may have many different projects vying
for my attention. This often leads those me around to comment, “You seem
to do so much!” While it may be true that I am “doing” a lot,
I often find myself wondering if I am doing “enough” of the right
things to improve my high-tech career and my life.
I sometimes find, in my own day-to-day work, a certain lack of focus.
We all need to stop and spend a few minutes pondering our bigger
goals and the tasks
we need to complete in order to get there. One moment I might be updating my
web pages; another, I might be helping out a client. Still later, I might be
engaged in the typical grunt work of doing business. Unless all of these tasks
are focused on a central direction or theme, you can spend a lot of time “getting
things done”, but not moving one more step closer to your final goal of
financial independence, personal security or even, fame and fortune.
So, what is your goal…for today, tomorrow and the future? The truth is,
your goals will change quite frequently. You might have very basic short-term
goals, like paying the rent and still have some long range ideas about changing
the world. Each day brings a different focus, but there should be some larger
goals out there pulling you forward. Without that “carrot on a stick” drawing
you forward, you can let your life become filled with the mundane aspects of
I know that nothing puts me in a bad mood more quickly than hours
and hours of grunt work. Whether it is tracking invoices, entering
bills, writing checks
or fixing broken household items, I will look up and wonder where the day,
week or month went. You need to recognize the symptoms of this
and find something
else to balance your day.
Busy work, important work
When my friends and clients comment on my busy-ness, this is often
a sign for me to take stock of my day. Am I burying myself in frivolous
pursuits or has
an overwhelming business need kept me away from other thoughts for too long?
Why am I doing what I am doing right now? Is there something else I could do
that would be more focused on my goals? What would suffer if this particular
task didn’t get done? What would benefit? Am I getting the big picture
or seeing no further than the end of my keyboard?
While those around you can help remind you to think about these issues,
only you can make the important decisions in your life. After you
have read every
self-help book, listened to every lecture on building a better future and
read every article on Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, only you know
if you are doing the
work that needs to be done.
Don’t let yourself be side-tracked into doing so much busy work that you
never get to the important stuff. Not every task leads to immediate rewards.
Even though a task might not be contributing to the bottom line, it can still
be important. If you are working to build your skills, expand your thinking
or develop an entirely new career, these are important tasks that need to be
given time and energy. If you deny yourself this, you may wake up one day to
ask the dreaded question, “Is that all there is?” If you don’t
find a way to balance your important work with your busy work, you might just
find that it is.
Regardless of your current job or career, you need to start thinking
about your work each and every day. You need to develop some short
and long term goals
and then gauge your daily work by them. Did you make movement towards your
goals today, or did you let life push you around a bit too much?
Did you glance off
towards the horizon, or spend all day seeing nothing more than the end of
your shovel? This balancing act is never easy, but there is little
to your growth, your happiness and the overall success of your high-tech career.
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