Your capacity for work is like a muscle. The more you work to develop it, the more it grows. The more you develop the capacity for work, the more you can produce, and the greater quality.
The Rise and Fall of the Knowledge Worker
You live in the Information Age, a time of accelerating, disruptive change. Instead of using your back and your hands as the means of producing, you use your brain. You are what Peter Drucker called a “knowledge worker.”
One of the many challenges that accompany being a knowledge worker is that you define your own work. That means you have to decide what needs done, and much of the time, you decide when and how it gets done. Unlike the Industrial Age, there isn’t someone directing your efforts, and it is rare that your slowing down shuts down production.
Because you control much of your own work, you also control whether or not you work on what is important, the urgency or pace with which you work, and how much work you actually do. If you work for a big company, you may be able to get by doing very little. If you work for any company, you can easily find yourself distracted by the things that look and feel like work without actually accomplishing much of anything.
The challenge with knowledge work is that it can lessen your capacity for real work.
You can improve your capacity for work. You can increase your endurance, putting forth greater effort over longer periods of time.
You can start by turning off all distractions and working a single 90-minute block uninterrupted. You can add additional 90-minutes blocks of focused, concentrated effort as 90-minutes becomes an effort that is easily sustained. Most people don’t spend 90-minutes on their highest priorities in the course of a week, let alone a single day. Think about the results you could produce if you were able to work two 90-minute blocks on your greatest priority every day.
One of the greatest determinants as to the results you will produce now and in the future is your capacity for work. It is also the one thing that is within your control that will level the playing field with people who have advantages over you in some other way.
If you are being out-hustled, you can change that any time you want to. Even though it may be popular to try to hack success, the straighter, faster, shorter path is to worker harder than anyone else.
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