006: Hard Work
It’s advantageous to work hard on the things that are important to us, to put in the long hours and grind it out to achieve our goals. Sound familiar? I’m sure it does. Sound like you? Maybe not. Is that a problem? I don’t think so. The ‘work hard’ mentality is one that was forged in a different time, when productivity required putting in ‘man-hours’ (apologies for the gender specific term). But in this day and age things have changed, there are better ways to be productive and achieve our goals without simply grinding it out until we can’t see straight anymore and are left wondering why we aren’t getting any results. Let’s take a look at the myth of Hard Work.
About a year ago I got an electric toothbrush. It’s one of those kinds that vibrates really fast, and has a timer so you know how long to brush. It beeps every 30 seconds so you can go to the next quadrant of your mouth and get a thorough brushing. It makes brushing easy, you simply let it glide over your teeth, allowing the toothbrush to do its thing as it vibrates and wait until the 2 minutes are up. It should be easy…..and that’s the problem. More often than not I find myself brushing fast and applying force, thinking that somehow I’m going to do a better job than how the thing was designed to work. This is especially true when I’m in a hurry. Remember, it’s on a timer, it’s 2 minutes no matter how fast I brush. But the mind works in mysterious ways. We somehow think that by applying more force and putting in greater effort we can have better results - and when we are in a hurry and under stress we double down on that mentality.
I also think about how I have a tendency to act this way when it comes to my work. Am I just applying force to the task? Am I putting in more energy than is needed? Or am I letting the tool do its job. Now the tools for work may be different, and maybe not as obvious as a better toothbrush, but we can approach it in the same way. Brushing your teeth is something you do everyday (hopefully :), so making it more efficient and effective is beneficial. Think about the tasks you do every day or for every tour and how you can make them more efficient. Email templates for booking inquiries, an EPK for when you need to send out promo material, a current stage plot and tech rider. I know you probably have some of these things - but are they truly up to date? Is your new bio in your EPK - or do you have to also send that along with the email? Is your stage plot correct? Except for that extra DI box that you now need but isn’t on the plot - you mention in the email thread every time, but it never gets filtered to the sound tech - so you start bringing an extra DI box just in case…..stop applying more force and effort than is needed. Take the time to update your stage plot, keep your templates up to date - it will save you time in the long run. Next time you are working on something and think, ‘this would be easier if I just did ‘x’ but I don’t have the time right now', take the time and do ‘x’. Especially if this is something you do on a regular basis. In the long run, this will save you time not cost you time.
There’s this thing I started doing a little while ago when people would ask me how my work is going. I’d say - ‘great!’. They’d reply, ‘you must be busy’. And I’d say ‘nope’....this confuses people. I’d tell them I’m not busy, I’m productive. People find this odd, and it’s based in that logic that ‘busy/hard work = success’. We need to stop thinking this way, it doesn’t serve us. It causes us to judge our success on the hours we put in, not the results we achieve, and leads to unneeded stress. I truly believe there is a better way, and for that we need to stop 'working hard' and start being productive.