Working on working

If you read that headline, you’re probably wondering ‘WTF does that mean?’.  Well, Working on working is something that I think about all the time.  You see, you can work on a project. You can work on your lawn.  You can work on your attitude.  But I think a lot of people need to ‘work on working’.  In other words, just learn to work better all the time.  Steven Pressfield has a great book that is available for free through Kindle or as a PDF from several locations, called “Do the Work” .

It’s an awesome book about simply getting the work done.  I think the book is great and straight to the point.  Definitely a great starting point for people to get off their asses and get shit done.

I think that those of us that don’t work with strict deadlines have it worse than those that have strict cutoffs forced on them by someone else or some conditions that require a deadline.  In contrast to deadlines, as an independent entrepreneur, I don’t have anyone to corral me in and make me finish on time.

I saw a great TED video on the subject.  Check this out….

You see what I mean.  Procrastination is way worse without the ‘deadline monster’.

This week, I tried putting my own artificial deadlines on stuff.  Monday, I felt like I should do 15 sales phone calls.  I was getting ready to get on a flight from Las Vegas to Lake Tahoe and I thought, “I’m gonna make the boarding of the flight my deadline for those calls”.

So I grabbed my computer and my phone and started making the calls.  My rule for myself was a minimum of fifteen calls in an hour and a half.  I made calls relentlessly.  About 8 calls in I was in touch with someone that was extremely interested in what I was offering and agreed to give me a trial run for my services at $25k per year.  He gave me a verbal commitment.  I got off the phone, documented it, and kept making calls.  By boarding time, not only did I get the calls done, but I made $25,000 and had a backup offer from another guy.  BOOM!

Then, unfortunately, I let shit slide for the next few days.  Didn’t set a deadline for anything.  Didn’t achieve anything notable through EOD Thursday.  I actually started to get depressed about it.  So Friday, I made a plan to start and finish developing a new website for a buddy of mine.  He has a restaurant hood cleaning service in Las Vegas and needed a new website.  So, I said to myself, “Okay JR. Time to get shit done.  You’re going to create this site from scratch and have it 100% completed by Sunday.

I started working on that night and went balls to the walls on Saturday.  By 8pm Saturday night, the site was completely built and I submitted it to Google for indexing.

Lesson learned.  Deadlines work.  I imagine that real deadlines work better, but with the right motivation, why couldn’t self imposed deadlines be just as effective?


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