Have you ever asked yourself this question? On which should I focus the most: Day-to-day work or projects? I have been asking this question myself for some time, quite a long time actually. Should I work on my projects and try to achieve my goals or should I see that I get the daily stuff done first.
When I’m working on projects I feel bad that I’m getting behind with my day-to-day work. And when I’m doing the day-to-day stuff, I start feeling frustrated that my projects don’t progress. Ideally, both should be done, but there’s just not enough time; And especially for us, multi-potentialites, with a milky way of different interests and passions, not in a few light years is there enough time to do it all.
I have been thinking hard and long about it… I actually found out that there are simple laws of nature to respect. I will tell you all about it in second.
Here you are, at a certain point in time, on a certain level of well-being.
This level of well-being is different for each person and can vary from being chronically ill to being in super health. It can vary from just being able to meet the month’s needs to living in wealth.
It can vary from feeling lonely and having no one in your life to having a partner, kids, a big family and a bunch of friends around you. It can vary from being in a mind numbing job to exploring, working out your creative ideas and getting paid very well for it on top of the fulfilment it gives you.
Now, there are three different things we all do, no matter what, who or where we are:
- We try to avoid to slide back to a lower level of well-being,
- We try to keep the status quo
- We try to level up and get more of what we like
And the order of the items in the list is no coincidence! Logically, these are your priorities.
Let’s take a closer look at the points in the list: First point: We try to avoid sliding back to a lower level. This is about NOT doing the things that jeopardise your current level of well-being.
Don’t drive too fast (you could have an accident), don’t be rude to other people (you could find yourself without any friends), don’t smoke or drink too much (it could ruin your health). Do you hear your mother’s voice now? She probably was a wise lady 🙂
It’s basically avoiding risks or taking well-calculated risks. You know, Murphy’s law never fails. Taking high risks can have a huge impact on your current level of well-being and risks can come up during your day-to-day work or during projects.
Let’s look at point 2: Keep the status quo
While point 1 is about NOT doing certain things, this point is about doing things that help you keep your current level of well-being. In other words this is about ‘Maintenance work’.
‘Maintenance’ comes from the French word ‘Maintenir’ which means to maintain and to preserve and that’s what day-to-day work does.
Sleeping, eating, drinking, etc. are things we do daily to keep us alive. Taking a shower, washing your clothes and keeping the house clean is about hygiene, which serves to keep you and your environment healthy. Regularly doing sports is to keep you in great shape. Doing some work every day gives you a regular income, so you can buy the things you need.
Have you noticed what all these tasks have in common? You need to do them regularly. Maintenance work are recurring tasks; you need to do them every day, sometimes every few days or every week or even every month, anyhow, regularly.
What happens if you don’t do these tasks regularly? If you skip them once, no big deal. If you skip them a few times, it will be harder to catch up. If you procrastinate or fail doing maintenance work for a longer period, then you will need a project to catch up!
You might not like to do these usually boring day-to-day tasks but they need to get done otherwise you slide back to a lower level of well-being and then you will need more time to catch up, time you can’t spend on interesting projects.
At the same time, the main pitfall of day-to-day work is that you keep being in ‘maintenance mode’ and you never get to doing any project work.
Let’s have a look at point 3: Try to level up
You can only level up when you have your day-to-day work under control. My grandma always said this (in other words) and I never believed it until I experienced it. She too was a wise lady. Attention here: I said ‘under control’, I didn’t say all day-to-day work had to be finished.
One way to level up is by adding new routines to your day-to-day work. E.g. from now on you decide to go jogging twice a week.
Another way is to start a project. Projects are the opposite of day-to-day work. While day-to-day work is recurring, projects are unique. And the outcome of a project is a unique product, service or end result.
Projects also have a start and an end date. And often, at the end of a project, there is a kind of handover to a new day-to-day routine to maintain your new higher level of well-being.
Projects are exciting because they bring new things to your life. We multi-potentialites love new projects, don’t we? Oh yes, we have a few ideas for new projects every hour and would like to start a new project every day. At least, I do.
But, which one to focus on most: Day-to-day work or projects?
We’re back at the question: Should you focus most on day-to-day work or on projects?
If you’ve read the article up to here, you already know that this is not the right question. What you should focus on is:
- Not to go back to a lower level of well-being, by avoiding, reducing or taking calculated risks, during your day-to-day work and in projects.
- To keep your current level of well-being by doing regular day-to-day maintenance work and starting a project if you need to catch up.
- To get a higher level of well-being, by adding new routines to your day-to-day activities and running projects to add new things to your life.
I guess this means constantly juggling items on your to do list. It means keeping a balance between what you absolutely need to do and what you like to do. And it means keeping control over your day-to-day activities and projects. But hey, we’re multi-potentialites, we’re passions pilots, we can do this!