Happy work environment

A big, broad work desk. In a quiet and comfortable office. My ideal workspace is clear of clutter and has access to the net and electricity for the laptop. There’s light enough to see. It smells nice. I have art on the wall.

Setting up my office and desk multiplies out over months and years. Over time, being comfortable at work adds up to a career and my own personal health. In many corporates we are not given the option to customize our workspace, which is a shame. I’m very lucky to have an office at home which I can adjust.

Like anything, a work space is subject to atrophy and creeping chaos over time. Clutter builds up in the most annoying way. If the size of the desk is wrong, or the seating is bad, or the connectivity options are not there it can have a huge impact on what I can achieve on any given day. The balance needs to be maintained or else it will fall apart. Next time you sit down to work, have a run through your senses. What does it feel like, smell like, what can you hear? What can you see around you? (lets assume you eat somewhere else and leave taste for now!).

At one point, I had a bad work chair hurting my back, there was not enough light to see properly, and dead rats in my office roof were stinking the place out. I was one step away from a human rights violation in my own home!

A new roof, some lighting and an ergonomic chair means my big, broad work desk is far more inviting. I have art on the wall. I have music. I have electricity. I have the internet. Most satisfying.

Working with what you have

I found myself lusting after some new tech.

New stuff. New and sparkly. The advertising sometimes works really well and convinces you that this widget will fix all the ills in your life.

Truth is, You don’t need more stuff. You need more focus, more consistency and to make use of what you have. How many drum kits or Stratocasters are gathering dust in peoples’ closets? It is a Tragedy of our times.

Instead of buying a new phone, start a band.

There is a valuable lesson here for work too. Don’t be fooled by new titles, new systems, and new tech which are promising revolutions. It’s far more likely you can organize and work with what’s already on the table and shape a change. You just have to care enough.

Becoming essential

I have spent my working life so far as a generalist. I know a little about a lot of things, master of none. This is not conducive to a driven and purposeful career.

How do you create something essential when you are not a subject matter expert? How do you become essential to a project if you are not the central producer? I see a couple of options.

You can learn. Become a specialist with dedication. Never in the history of the world have we had so many learning resources at our fingertips. You do need the time to dedicate to learning. This gets harder with things like family and children tugging at your attention. Practice makes perfect though, So plugging away at something will make you better, and therefore more marketable.

You can become a coordinator of experts. Imagine a goal and assign roles for those with the expertise to cooperate and create something bigger than the sum of its parts. This is what I have seen in business. The energy to talk and link people with each other is priceless. Having a role in mind for all the experts and relentlessly networking, calling, meeting, discussing with them the best way to achieve that goal. This leads to success.

Working late

I used to hate working late. However, now a days my life is so manic it’s a bit of a treat once everyone is in bed to just turn on some music and focus for a while.

Streaming tunes fill my head. Streams of words and numbers fill my screen.

All in the peaceful night.

One for you, 19 for me.

Some lines from songs stick with us. They are memorable and well structured. But, most lines are not. Most lines from most songs fall by the wayside of our memories and attentions.

This is true of all work and creations of course. 99% of our efforts are ‘works in progress’ or sub-standard. There are only a few instances (if we are consistent and hard working) when we strike lightening, gold and rainbows with our work.

It makes sense then to live for those moments, and to hope for them. But also to come to terms with the hard work it takes to get there.

Social Media and Distraction

Life catches up with you. Like a night out stumbling from one bar to another, social media can have no purpose and damage your life if you don’t pay attention. Facebook updates for giggles and laughs is not a long term strategy unless you are a comedian. Chasing likes and shares, while measurable, will not get you anywhere meaningful. It will distract you from making something useful and interesting.

I have gone through peaks and troughs with social media – After becoming disgusted with my online self, I purged all my accounts …and now slowly I am trying again with more purpose. Now I have reached some sort of balance with the following social/web presence to manage:

  • a personal Facebook profile
  • a personal Instagram profile
  • a Chimpwithcans Instagram profile (public – see link)
  • a Chimpwithcans Facebook page (public feed of this blog and Instagram – see link)
  • a Chimpwithcans Twitter profile (public feed of this blog – see link)
  • this blog (public)

Less distraction, more creativity, more intentionality (big word no?).

Real life vs. the internal conversations

Maybe it’s to do with my personality type, but I act out scenarios in my head a lot. My imagination then impacts on real life. I convince myself that everyone else has played out the same scenario in THEIR heads. I convince myself that I don’t need to explain anything because they already know!

Of course the probability of two minds being in sync is tiny and this can lead to misunderstandings.

The cure to all this is scary in its simplicity. Talk out loud to people, and ask hard questions even if you think you already know the answer.

Goals

We’re all told to set goals. Humans are wired to strive for stuff, more-so even than we are for achieving stuff. Once a goal is achieved it’s great for a day or so, then it’s business as usual and a hunt for the next goal. I tried to wrack my brain for some goals I might have:

  • 1 night
  • 1 week
  • 2 months
  • 4 years

Those are the timespans linked with any significant goals I can think of in my life at the moment.

So my big question is: What happens 4 years from now? In the meantime, lots to do 🙂

Happy weekend.

Focus snuck up on me

Today was a good day in a good week. But I’m only realizing now after supper. Strikes me that it often goes that way.

When you are busy, focused and enjoying yourself, almost by definition you stop noticing time pass and stop analyzing what you are doing.

Only looking back now am I surprised at a good patch.

Here’s hoping for more blind, ignorant, closed off, unthinking good patches 😉