Is Variety of Work the Spice of Life?

Image courtesy of jk1991@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I first started work, the expectation was still very much, in many workplaces, that you did one job. There wasn’t even much in the way of conducting a variety of tasks within that one job. In my case, I watched people I respected do the same thing, day in and day out. Some of them were champion sportspersons back in their heyday (ie world class athletes with the medals to prove it). However, they carried out the same work, day in and day out, and as far as I knew – probably forever.

What I recognised early on though was that the job with a single task was not for me. I understood quickly I needed a job that would not only have a variety of tasks, but would also make a difference. 

Along the way, I came to realise that the more senior jobs generally had greater variety. And, it also seemed from the outside, higher job satisfaction.

So, over the years, I pursued a path to move up the ladder. In my case, this meant changing not only jobs but industries frequently until I became a CEO. 

So what did I experience? Well the variety of work was fantastic, but not the stress that came with it. In particular, I had to deal with the additional issues that come with being a CEO:

  • Corporate culture;
  • Supporting the Council (Board);
  • Strategic direction setting;
  • Dealing with unrealistic expectations by customers, staff, the board and other stakeholders;
  • Performance of staff;
  • Long hours and a distinct lack of work/life balance…

In short, I came to realise that I had complicated my life, both at home and at work.

I needed to simplify things. So, ultimately what did I do?

I became a consultant. My wife and I created our own business – Strategic Teams, which three years in, is still very much in its infancy. The great thing about this change though, is that it allows me (and Linda) to do a range of work without the range of issues I had as a CEO. In otherwords, we create value by directly addressing the needs of our clients without a range of other distractions.

How to Simply – Five Things To Consider

There are a range (list) of things you can do to reduce the complication in your life ie the distractions, but maintain variety at the same time:

  1. Declutter your email inbox and the other email folders that you have. The pressure created through email continues to surge unchecked by many. Unsubscribe from all those unnecessary distractions, and then ask yourself whether you really need to be copied into all those other emails you receive?
  2. Spend less time like a moth to a flame regarding social media. It is okay to disengage. Work out when you should engage on social media, and what types suit your brand. This is exactly the same for when you engage on social media at home or other environments.
  3. Work out when you work best ie are you a morning person or an afternoon person (or a night owl?). This is about when you are most effective, not about when you start and finish work! 
  4. Start work on time ie be there when your staff expect you to be there – even for those who work in a virtual space. If your the boss, you set the tone. 
  5. Finish work at the normal knock off time. The work you do is still going to be there tomorrow. Remember you have family and friends. It took me the best part of 25 years for the penny to drop on this one.

In short, Courtney Carver is right: less is more, by removing the unnecessary things from your life, it is certainly a great way to go.

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