It’s funny, but since deciding to stop engineering and work full time in my area of passion, I’ve struggled to find the really peaceful ‘bliss based balance’ I had found in my cruisy engineering job.
My engineering boss loved me (almost all the time). He said to me the other day ‘Tania, you have done a STERLING job! (In particular, he was referring to the fact that I’d done far better at meeting time-lines than a guy I had taken over from 6 months ago). And yet, I never really did anything that didn’t feel good.
Don’t ask me how, but somehow I’d winged it such that, even within my corporate job, feeling good came first, and working came second, AND IT WORKED. (I stumbled upon this method 8 years ago when I was fed up with engineering and decided that if I was going to stay, I’d do it my way, no love lost if they fired me anyway).
But you know what was really surprising, it turns out, that I’d hit a productivity jackpot!
Ok, so maybe I wasn’t the nerdy worker 100% maximising our productivity of ‘widgets’ to the tee. (Personally I think its debatable that maximising the production of ‘things’ is true productivity when you look at the global scale of what actually sustain-ably benefits the planet).
But if you count productivity as keeping my boss happy, I scored 100% every time! He gave me really great performance reviews every 6 months (sometimes to my utter astonishment, given that I knew how much work I had been doing).
I was doing 20% of the work I used to do, when I first joined the company as a bright eyed and bush tailed engineering graduate, sometimes 10%, I kid you not!
So how did I do it?
When I got to work and felt bad or tired, I put my headphones on and journalled and listened to music until I felt good (Actually I pretty much did this every morning, in some ways it was often my planned integration which balanced me after a busy family weekend or evening).
(There’s a little more to it, I would speed read all emails in 10 min and note down those that I needed to act on)
Usually, about half an hour before lunch, I would speed respond to all emails. By after lunch I was clear in my head and ready to really effectively ensure that all time critical essentials were done, in about one hour, (whilst still excitedly jotting down ideas about my passion in between tasks). I’d avoid unproductive meetings like the plague, but where an online meeting was critical (I worked with many overseas contributors) then I’d schedule that for 3:30 and then I was done for the day, free to ponder my navel till home time.
This added up to a total of about 2 hours time focused on work each day, on average, sometimes it was even no work, sometimes it was more.
THAT’S WHY I BELIEVE IT WHEN A FAMOUS ENTREPRENEUR WRITES A BOOK SAYING THAT THE ‘FOUR HOUR WORK WEEK’ IS POSSIBLE (So maybe I’ve got a few additional tweaks to learn, I’m still at 2 hours a day, in a good setting- though I do take some credit for creating that job setting)
Only problem is, now that I’m primarily focussing on my own business, its a whole other matter having the discipline to work less, when I’m following my own, excited nose. So often in the past few weeks, I’ve been getting lost like a giddy puppy dog, running through the fields of exciting ideas and projects. Its embarrassing, but the other day I ended up working so hard I ended up accidentally sitting in my own menstrual blood (eek, sorry squeamy guys!) And quite a few times I’d come to at 6pm, emerging from the online world somewhat exhausted. (Keep in mind that I still feel a billion times more excited to be fully following my passion than I ever had in my engineering job, I just hadn’t developed that same faith that I could slow down, and was running myself into the ground.) And with kindness for myself, I do believe that there is a level of this which is like a birth, as my passion births it releases so much excitement that it even wakes me at 2am with ideas, and there is a level of that which cant be stopped, just like you cant stop a child from coming.
However, as life does, and hilariously so, it finally did make me stop.
On the very same weekend, and just as I was about to hold a first team meeting for spoken heart, I both lost my voice, and my phone stopped working.
Thank you to the life force that steers me! That message was loud and clear!
But you know what was even funnier?
I didn’t listen!
I felt so strongly that maintaining momentum was important (and I have beautiful momentum, 5 or 6 lovely people who really want to co-create the first night) that I decided to keep on with the meeting and ‘whisper’.
I was going to start the first Spoken Heart meeting with a strained but excited whisper!
Until I finally came to my senses. And I decided to have 3, maybe more, meditative rest days, and I decided to let go.
If something is quality, a way will be created and I don’t have to run around, head over heels, slaving pull it off.
(This doesn’t sound like a ground breaking insight, but everyone I’ve ever talked to who has tried entrepreneurialism – bar one who I’d like to have ‘guest speak’ at Spoken Heart – has had their company just about swallow them up with out of control tasks. As if their business were some out of control beast which owned them, rather than them owning it)
Anyway, I’m heeding the learnings of my last 8 years in engineering
I’m putting FEELING GOOD first!
Second to that I streamline all tasks and focus on completing 2 or 3 essential, time critical tasks each day (using the great wisdom of people who have done it, like the guy who wrote the ‘fourhourworkweek’
Not because I’m lazy.
As a therapist, a facilitator, a writer or even an engineer,
I have more to offer if I feel good.
In particular, what good is a therapist who doesn’t feel good?
For me that means;
-Walking in the Park
-Playing with my kids
-Writing and Painting for fun
FOR MOST OF MY DAY!
And max two hours of essentials, (and some yummy 1:1 sessions and workshops that I am in my bliss to run.)
(I’ll keep you posted how it goes)
Lets all teach each other what we learn regarding this work conundrum. I really want to nut it out, and reckon we can all get much further together.