Not all that long ago, I believed that a workday packed with tasks and activities was normal productivity. Indeed, if there wasn’t additional work to be done at home – that night or the next morning – then I wasn’t pulling my weight.
Today, I’m dealing with a chronic illness and medication that zaps my energy. I no longer can turn to the coffee pot and eek out those extra hours. Instead, I go home and nap. There’s just one small, lingering problem:
Oh, I believe in yesterday.
The new situation hasn’t fully impacted my schedule. I continue to fill my calendar as if nothing has changed.
Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be.
Late last February, everything changed in 48 hours. One day I’m fine and the next I’m telling my associate that I’ll be away “for a while.” What was thought to be a few weeks ended up as three months. After I returned to work, I knew it would take a few weeks to get back up to speed. So, we planned a lighter summer schedule.
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Now that I’m back up to speed, I find that my speed is not quite what it was – even on a good day. So I let go of extraneous tasks and focus more on what matters. Consequently, I find that effectiveness takes on a different hue.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.
At my work, one of our strategies is to address the whole person because we bring all of who we are to every situation. As I live out this strategy and adjust to having less energy, I find that I can bring more to the table by acknowledging and allowing my whole person to be in every situation. It keeps my priorities – from work, home, community, et al – in front of me. I’m reminded of what Jim Collins (Good to Great) said: strip away the noise and clutter and focus on the few things that have the greatest impact.
I believe in yesterday.
Before, a little less sleep, a little extra caffeine, a little more “just get it done” seemed to work. Now, I really don’t think it did. Today, since I must pay closer attention to my pace, I find that, as I welcome all of who I am into every situation, I’m more present, more focused, and more satisfied in my work. It’s a treasure that I share with you today and wished I would have believed in yesterday.
Knowing others is wisdom; knowing the self is enlightenment; Mastering others requires force; mastering the self needs strength. Lao-Tzu
Treat yourself to this video of Paul McCartney singing Yesterday. (watch now)