One of the greatest differences between successful people and people who do not have the level of success they want is the ability to focus, the ability to give themselves over to their work.
Success is intentional. No one succeeds by being reactive. To focus, to give something your full attention, and to get things done, you need energy.
Here is how I am thinking about my work and my recovery.
Proactive – Work
The very best place to invest your time is in the right half of the four quadrants.
Proactive work is the work that is aligned with your purpose, aligned with your goals, and aligned with your vision. The work that you do here is intentional, and it will help you live your purpose, reach your goals, and realize your vision.
This the work you do by design.
Your personal life is a primary part of your work. The reason so many people are unhappy and complaining about work-life balance is because they don’t treat their personal life as if it is as important as their job. They aren’t proactive and intentional about planning time for their spouse, their children, their loved ones, and their friends.
The need to be proactive here is just as important.
You plan to do the most important work you need to do each day. And you plan to invest your focus and attention on the people who are important to you.
Proactive – Recovery
There are all kinds of things that you do that allow you to recover your physical and emotional energy. But the things that you do to recover intentionally are more valuable than the things that you spend time on unintentionally.
These are things like meditation, exercise, sleep, yoga, taking planned breaks, and spending time away from your work.
Many of us pride ourselves on our workload. Then we break down because we’ve abused the vessel through which all that production is made possible. The things on your recovery list need to be taken care of in the same proactive way you take care of the things on your proactive work list.
Reactive – Work
There is some work that just shows up. It is important. It might be urgent. It may even be aligned with your purpose, your goals, and your vision. Whatever it is, it needs to be done, and you may need to be the one to do it.
It’s always good to ask yourself a series of questions before you invest your time here.
First, you need to ask yourself if this isn’t something that, had you been proactive earlier, might not be showing up now? If it is, you may need to do this task now, or you may need to do it in such a way that it never shows up again.
Second, you need to ask yourself whether or not you are the primary value creator for this work. If you aren’t, it might be possible to give the work to someone who can do the work as well or better than you.
Remember, your personal life shows up here, too. Your child is sick, and she needs to go to the doctor. You may have to be the one to take her, and there may be nothing you can do about it. Not all reactive tasks are bad.
Reactive – Recovery
If you don’t take time to recover, your body and your mind will take care of that on their own.
If you don’t get mental recovery, you lose focus. You’ll lose your stamina for completing the proactive work that you most need to do. If this goes on too long, you’ll experience burnout.
If you don’t take time for your body to recover, you will likely become physically ill. You’ll susceptible to all kinds of illnesses.
Reactive recovery is when your mind checks out. You slip over to the Internet and browse Facebook for an hour. You didn’t mean to, but you lost focus. You are at work, but you aren’t working. You are just recovering, waiting to react.
You’re too tired to concentrate, and you lack the physical energy and stamina to work. So you sit.
These things happen because your body and your mind are telling you they need to recover. But these things don’t provide the necessary level of recovery.
Focus and Energy
This is all about your focus, your attention, and your energy. You need to be proactive in your work and in your recovery to produce the energy and the results you want.
Where are you spending most of your time? What changes do you need to make?