What are you working towards? Part 2
So last time I talked about how our industry is driven by extremely passionate and dedicated people who share a common goal of educating the masses on the benefits of technology in the home. However there’s a fine line between dedication and obsession - and the latter can come at a cost. So here are the five ways to get the balance right:
1. IDENTIFY YOU HAVE A PROBLEM
How do you know if you passionate or OCD? A passionate person can still make a rational decision to stop something (even if they don’t want to) because they recognize the need to do something for others that is more important. An obsessive person has an uncontrollable need or urge to do something (even if it’s not critical), just because they always do it that way and will feel guilty if they don’t. They will find and justify excuses why they have to do what they’re doing – AND they’ll believe it!
2. WORK SMARTER
It is easy to continue to do things the same way because we are in a routine, but the truth is we can be much more productive by working smarter. Look at creative ways of becoming efficient; for example don’t try and squeeze a little bit of everything into one time period. Dedicating a certain time each week to tasks such as business development, programming, proposals, and finances. We all know how long it can take for our brain to shift gear from one thought process to another (particularly if it’s something we don’t like doing or doesn’t come naturally). By tacking a single group of common tasks at a time, you will keep your momentum up and get a lot more done within the same time period.
If you have an obsessive personality, then chances are you want every single thing you do to be perfect. The reality is, nothing is or ever will be … and just as the leaf on my freshly mowed lawn drove me crazy, so too will your obsession for perfection. Learn that your objective should always be fulfilling the client’s wishes and not yours. Always ask yourself “Will the client know the difference and appreciate this … or am I doing it because I want it that way.” If the answer is you, then it’s time to simplify. This will not only save time and your sanity, it will also improve your profitability, as it is difficult to justify an expense to a client for something they didn’t want or care about.
This is one of the hardest things for us perfectionists to do! We believe that no one can do anything as good as we can, and we justify our thought process by saying to ourselves “by the time I explain what I want, I could have done it myself.” Everyone has to start somewhere, and your team is not going to develop skills and knowledge unless you empower them. Sure, it may take a little mentoring and there will be some corrections along the way, but the time this will free up in long term will pay dividends. The added bonus is that you will create a sense of responsibility and pride in your team members - and that will generate loyalty that goes way beyond their pay packet.
5. SLOW DOWN AND THINK CLEARLY
Slowing down seems like such a contrast to our fast-paced and rapidly advancing industry, however the truth is, it makes a lot of sense. Sometimes we need to simply sit back, take a deep breath, and collect our thoughts to come up with the right answer. Find something you enjoy doing that will allow you luxury of letting your thought process to flow freely. I took up cycling a year and half ago and I am not only amazed with how much better I can concentrate now that my physical fitness has improved, I also find it a wonderful time to simply think through some of the challenges I am facing in a distraction-free environment. You may enjoy golf, running, walking, tennis … just make time for something that slows down your mad-paced work life and gives you time to think.
6. BE SPONTANEOUS
If you want to create a happy home life, show your family they mean more to you than your work. I have found that the best way to do this is by doing something spontaneous that they weren’t expecting– showing them that I feel a need to spend time with them. It doesn’t have to be something expensive or even take all day. Throw together a picnic and go to the beach or the local park, or simply go out for an ice cream and family walk after dinner. Equally importantly, make time for your wife/husband or partner and your kids individually. Learn what their personal “love languages*” are and do something specifically that they enjoy. Nothing creates a sense of self-worth and value like one-on-one time that is tailored to the individual emotional needs of that person.
Finding a balance in life is not only critical for your own state of mind, it is also imperative in keeping a happy home life. Always remember to ask yourself “what am I working towards?” If the answer is to provide a better quality of life for your family, then remember this; the most valuable thing you can give them is your time.