“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”
― Thomas Merton
What does it take to do effective work?
If you’re motivated to think about all of the factors that make you more effective in your work, there must be a reason.
What are you gathering that energy and building that power for? How will you use it?
Energy only exists in the moment. Everything else is potential. When you have energy, you must use it or you waste it. That is the opportunity cost of every moment – choosing how you use the energy you have right now.
Most people know this, but lack the mechanisms to fully harness this energy. How do you harness lightning? Or the power of the wind?
Let’s define the factors that are required to get work done effectively before going deeply into how they can each be addressed and functionally supported.
A Four-Factor System for Getting Effective Work Done:
Understand what your most important work is. You have limited time and energy. Everyone has the same amount of time and variable amounts of energy. You have to have a method and mechanisms to use both your time and energy wisely. There also needs to be a process to get the work done consistently even with variances in energy.
Plan how you’re going to get that work done. The best way to diffuse your energy is to do a whole bunch of stuff at one time and move the needle in small ineffective ways rather than gathering your energy and moving one or two things (ideally one) significantly with the same amount of energy and time applied.
Track how you’re applying your energy and if you’re doing the things that create the kind of environment that allows you to show up in devotion and with excellence. By devotion, I mean that when you do your work, you have an awareness of the larger purpose of why you’re doing what you’re doing. By excellence, I mean that you apply your best thinking and efforts as consistently as possible.
Expand your limits over time. It is possible to increase your ceiling of what is possible – what you can accomplish in a specific amount of time and how much energy you can bring to the table. It’s like working out. You move through plateaus and then hit new peaks of performance. Also like working out, you have to know how the bar is moving up, track that over time and know where the opportunities for improvement exist.
Using this mix of factors, it is possible to hit new peaks of performance and do this consistently and methodically – not in just a “flash in the pan” kind of way.
Theory is great. Understanding factors is great.
But action speaks louder than words.
And the point of all of this is to enable you to get into action.
This is a journey I’ve been on for a long time, going all the way back to college when I “burned the candle at five ends” and ended up on the phone with my Dad in a major meltdown because I scheduled 95 of my 168 hours per week and barely left enough time to sleep and eat. I got sage advice that day to “land all nonessential planes.” No doubt, I had overcommitted and said yes to too many things and I had to get clear about what truly was essential.
Ten years into this journey of dialing in effectiveness in my work and learning to build and harness my energy, a series of factors crystalized that have consistently moved the needle for me over the past 18 months.
Ultraworking has a different tool or method that helps to accomplish each of these four factors that are essential to get effective work done consistently.
Unequivocally, I can say that Ultraworking’s toolset has transformed how I get work done. I am consistently able to get 2-4x the amount of work done in a 4 hour period than I would be able to if I wasn’t using their approach.
I am able to see what is most important to me and if I am actually tending to those areas every day. It gives me visibility about when things are happening or not happening and to see when certain habits fall off and why.
Their planning process has allowed me get clear about what’s most important during any given month and make sure there are mechanisms in place to follow through.
And last but definitely not least, I have been able to push my limits farther and farther in terms of what I thought was possible in relation to my work, especially as related to integrating all of the areas of the ecosystem that are vital to functioning optimally.
Where I took a decade research and figure out the system where I maintain really high levels of energy, Ultraworking gave me the tools to channel that energy effectively into my work. Try one of the tools, try them all. Find a mix that works for you.
Over the next several articles in the series, we’re going to dig into how you can create an ecosystem of effective work for yourself by investigating these tools, what they do, how they work, and how you can install them and build a launchpad for consistent effectiveness.