A Personal Blog About Working Hard

July 17, 2016 — Posted by Al Shalloway

I read Seth Godin's Blog everyday. This morning's A Drop In the Bucket made me stop and think (actually most do, this one more than others).  I don't think Seth would mind my including it here.

A drop in the bucket, By Seth Godin

When you buy a glass of wine at a nice restaurant, it doesn't come in a beer stein. If it did, the 4 ounces would be dwarfed by the glass and you'd feel like your host was ungenerous.

Closets, it seems, are always just a bit too small to hold our stuff, regardless of their size.

Busy corporate lawyers spend twelve hours a day at work, and somehow, are busy the entire time. It's easy to imagine that they could get their work done (most days) in 8 hours, but the container they're using is size XL, and so the work expands to fit.

Dieters have been shown to eat less when they use smaller plates.

Silicon Valley helps entrepreneurs feel that things are possible, but it also sucks the joy out of the process because so many people are keeping score on an infinite scoreboard.

Portion control via vessel size is a secret to success and happiness. 

After reading this I started writing a personal message to my crew and realized, why not expand it to anyone who thinks I have something to offer?   Note, this is more about how to be with your work than how to do Lean-Agile, although I have a sense it'll morph into that a little. :)  Anyway, here goes:

I have been struggling with overloading myself with work since I got out of college.  I liked to think it was due to my getting into business (basically I had to) and my relationships before my marriage now (basically as a way to avoid my situation) but on reflection I can see the "go full button" has pretty much always been pushed in in my life. 

I look back on it and at times it made sense, but most of the time it didn’t.  Not because the amount of work didn't' demand it, but because  when I let the pressures I felt demanded I work so hard rule me, I wasn’t looking at other important things.  I tend to think - just get through this week and then I'll pause. But the pause doesn't always happen.  What should be a reflection daily or weekly turns into monthly or quarterly.  I've learned to force myself into taking breaks - and that has helped.  But even then the pressure is there, albeit less.

Oddly enough I've noticed a pattern in my life that when I don't overload my schedule, things go better.  Perhaps a happy person who is alert and awake and getting half of what he needs to do is more productive than a person pushing themselves beyond their limit trying to get it all done.  How can this be true?  Not sure, but the evidence supports it (and yes, I know what Lean says about all of this ;D) ). 

Why am I writing this?  I have this sense that confessing it may help others notice it.  While Net Objectives is known for our software consulting, what really drives us (all of us, not just me) is wanting to serve. It seems that how we are in business and personal life is inextricably woven together and as I write this I see the parallels much clearer.

If you found this useful, please let me know. I wrote this as a kind of experiment and would be happy to write more if it has value.

Al Shalloway, CEO, Net Objectives

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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With over 40 years of experience, Alan is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, SAFe, Scrum and agile design.



        

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