Want to improve your life at work and your lot in life? Pay attention, and whatever you’re doing, do it only while wide awake.
Stop going through the motions, get out of rut-inducing habits, and banish auto-pilot.
I talk about ho‘ohana a lot, and define it as “working with intent and with purpose.” If you’ve missed my previous links on it, here’s the chapter on Ho‘ohana as a Hawaiian value in Managing with Aloha: Freebie book excerpt.
When I’ve been coaching someone, and “ho‘ohana” has made its way into our vocabulary (which doesn’t take long at all), the other phrase that we start to associate with working intentionally, is “only working when wide awake.”
Merlin Mann at 43 Folders calls it self-awareness, and I believe he nails it with a recent post he wrote called “Systems, ciphers, and the dirty little secret of self-improvement.”
“My theory is that the secret code for most self-improvement systems—from Getting Things Done through Biofeedback and the Atkins diet—is not hard to break; any idea that helps you to become more self-aware can usually help you to reach a goal or affect a favorable solution. That’s pretty much the entire bag of doughnuts right there.”
Sure is. I love it when someone unravels the thinking that’s been bumping up against the walls in my own brain. Just more evidence on what reading can do for you.
Merlin goes on to talk about when systems become effective, and why in particular he has “remained so attracted to elements of GTD.” Recently I’ve experienced the same thing he has:
“I guess I’ve been thinking about this stuff a bit lately since so many people right now seem attracted to ideas about managing their time, increasing productivity, and making personal improvements in their lives.”
It seems the one thing nearly every manager eventually asks me for, is more coaching on better time management, and squeezing more quality out of their day to day grind.
In trying to help them I’ve started to think more (and coach more) about the process of intentionally creating new self-awareness habits, which after all are simply your personal systems. There’s no reason to look for some new-fangled time management system, when what you really must do is just admit you didn’t commit to any of the old ones! I can’t help going back to Stephen Covey’s was-7-now-8 Habits, and the very process of creating a habit itself.
Feast on Merlin’s “entire bag of doughnuts” before they get stale or moldy: You start with that self-awareness you need, then turn the action steps to improvement into a brand new habit.
Eliminating auto-pilot, and only working wide awake might be a good new habit to start with.
You can read Merlin’s full post here. I like his wrap-up:
“Above all, remember that the secret code isn’t hiding in the tools or the charts or the sacraments—the secret is to watch your progress and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep remembering to think, and stay focused on achieving modest improvements in whatever you want to change. Small changes stick.”
Especially when you turn those small changes into new habits.
For related posts, click this category link.
Hawaiian Technorati Tag: Ho‘ohana.