I love words. If I ever
get a tattoo, I am SURE it will be word-based. I love pithy and, dare I say it,
inspirational phrases that capture big ideas in a few short words. (And I
love/hate the ones that make it to Pinterest). Lately I've developed
a few mantras that keep coming up during my work day.
Do one thing. I don't have ADD (to my knowledge), but like everyone
else, my attention span has suffered as Internet speeds have improved. I tend
to load up a million tabs and click around between them when I'm waiting
for a page on my ancient work computer to load, or to draft most of an email only to leave it in my drafts when I'm
almooooost done. So I've been reminding myself to "do one thing"
lately. Like to finish handling an email before I click out of it,
because it takes more time to find it again and pick back up. Doing
one thing at a time makes my mind feel calmer and (shocker) my work get done
faster and less frantically. I also like this as a reminder, when I come
in in the morning and start getting overwhelmed by my task list, that
I don't have to tackle the whole thing right that minute. Just do
one thing, and the second will follow after that.
This isn't fun. This is sort of an anti-mantra. Since reading this post, It has been popping into my
head when I have started digging into a project and
whining to myself about how it's harrrrd. Whenever I think this, it
signals to me that it's time to buckle down because this is where the magic is
happening – where stuff is getting done and where I'm growing as a
professional. It signals to me that I should dive deep rather than looking for
something easier to do (like responding to an email or gasp! discreetly
flicking through Instagram). It means I'm in the zone. And once I'm in the
zone, it might not be fun exactly, but it becomes satisfying – whether I'm
stringing together a narrative or solving the puzzle of a budget.
Two years into my first
real job, there is still so much I'm learning. But I am realizing that I am
in control during my workday, of my attitude and my task list. I don't choose
my tasks, but I can choose how I prioritize and tackle them. Sometimes it seems
that that's the exclusive domain of people who work for themselves. But even at a cubicle YOU are in control, to a large extent, of what your day