Krishna instructed Arjuna: “We have a right to our labor, but not to the fruits of our labor.” What did he mean? He meant that we control the way we work but not the outcome of our work. We own our process, Not the plan.
So, how can we own our process when our work is unpredictable? Impromptu meetings, Constant interruptions, Outages, Eager managers, Confused customers, New teammates disrupt our flow every day. How do we plan for those?
Each day, I commit to four hours of work that I know I can do. That’s it. Four hours. Some days I manage more but most days I don’t. The remaining four hours belong to my team, My managers, My customers, And the whims of a fragile internet.
Starting my 4-hour workday was uncomfortable. Compared to the ambitious plans of my coworkers, my process sounded Anemic, Unimpressive, Unimportant, Unambitious. But the discomfort was momentary. Each day, I went home done. The next day, I moved to the next thing. No excuses, No repeat stand-ups. I became a predictable part of my team. I got the same amount done as I had before but now I was dependable.
This week, Plan for less. It may feel weird but press on. You’ll get more done.
Happy Labor Day,
P.S. Paul Graham wrote a great piece on splitting your between “making time” and “manager time”. You’ll like it. http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html