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Where to Put Your Effort

Where to Put Your EffortAre you working too hard or not hard enough?

In many cases, it’s hard to tell. Because we confuse work with worry and we put energy into the wrong things at the wrong time.

It can be quite confusing. And very frustrating.

You might be determined to do a great job. And you might be worried about what others will think–how you will be evaluated.

Probably you want to do well on both of those fronts. That’s a good plan, but difficult to balance properly.

Here’s the deal. Much of the time you are being way too hard on yourself. You are actually doing ok but you beat yourself up about not doing enough.

Also the deal: you are being too easy on yourself and not working hard enough much of the time.

Both can be true. And often they are.

Because many of us focus on the wrong things in both of these cases.

It can lead to a real mish-mash of energy that is just not optimally applied.

Your work can be better and your stress level lower if you can figure out a better way to navigate these elements of your work journey.

That’s what this post will help you with today.

The judge and jury

We all worry about how others judge us. Probably too much.

This is one of the things that can really throw your work off track. Because you might be focusing too much on things that other people will see.

These things are, in fact, important. You should dress professionally for your presentation, use a clear and easy to read format and font in your report, and try not to use a lot of “ums” and “ahs” when you speak up in a meeting.

But you shouldn’t worry about these things so much.

The stress is unjustified. And that’s the hook you can use to convince yourself.

If you stop for a moment to recognize that these things are important but not “life or death” critical, it can help.

You can simply check to make sure you are attentive to these matters. And then let them go.

Your energy is needed elsewhere.

Behind the scenes

You probably are slacking off in other places. Like, exactly where it’s tempting. Because you feel like nobody is watching or it’s stuff that doesn’t matter.

But these little, seemingly insignificant things, can be the difference makers.

Sure you read the report. Read it again.

Yes, you talked to people about the issue. Circle back. Talk to more people.

You have definitely thought things through. But you should think again. And probably do a little journaling or whiteboarding or at least a little more reflecting.

The devil is in the details, they say. And they are right. Because “they” in this case is some pretty good wisdom passed down from the ages.

Just watch any successful person work behind the scenes. So much of it is available now, you can find inspiration in any area you like.

I was just watching some behind the scenes clips of Rolling Stones rehearsals on Mick Jagger’s Instagram story. They are in a big warehouse type building somewhere practicing Miss You and Start Me Up and Midnight Rambler. Songs they’ve played for decades.

The band has played for over 50 years. But they stay on top not because they continue to practice. To not take anything for granted.

Not by stressing out over stuff that doesn’t matter. But by constantly pouring energy into things that do make a difference that matters.

Therein lies the wisdom.