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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Want To be A Workaholic

Most people hate the idea of workaholics, but I actually want to be one, especially after reading this post by Scott Berkun. The idea that one can work so hard under such short period of time is intriguing. More importantly, it's the quality of the work produced that is even more worthy of emulation.

From the post, here's an excerpt:
Show me a genius and I’ll show you a workaholic. Van Gogh produced 2000 works of art between 1880 and 1890 (1100 paintings and 900 sketches). That’s 4 works of art a week for a decade, and he didn’t start making art until his mid twenties. DaVinci’s famous journals represent decades of note taking, doodling and observations, and it’s a good guess that work was the center of his life: no spouses or children are mentioned in any of our records of him (though he likely had lovers in his studio). Picasso made over 12,000 works of art (“Give me a museum and I’ll fill it he said, and he was right) in his lifetime, including sculptures, paintings and other mediums. Shakespeare wrote more than 40 plays, not to mention dozens of sonnets, poems and of course, grocery lists. These are people who practiced their crafts daily and sacrificed many other ordinary pleasures in life to make their work possible. Every math or music prodigy practiced to produce the work they are famous for (See the ten year rule).
 In addition to having a high demanding job and stress, I've noticed that most workaholics follow a stringent schedule, one that is defined by early rising and a night owl. Imagine being so devoted to one thing that you can do this for 10-12 hours a day without a break! That is the kind of passion I hope to see in my work. I admire these people because they are so focused and in love with what they are reading and doing that they are not tempted by external stimuli and do not wish to take breaks to satisfy their desire to entertain and be entertained. In other words, work is their main focus.

From this article by Life Optimizer, I learn about the 5 levels of Focus: Lifetime, Yearly, Weekly, Daily, Currently.

1. Lifetime. What is your life purpose? Have you followed it?
2. Yearly.  Your goal should be both specific and measurable. To ensure that you are focused at the yearly level, you should have only one goal for the year (or two if you must).
3. Weekly. What do you want to achieve in the following week to help you achieve your yearly goal?
4. Daily. You can start by setting your Most Important Task (MIT) for the day. Your MIT should be the thing that will make the most difference if you accomplish it today.
5. After setting your goals for the day, the next level is the present. To get optimum result, you should be focused in whatever you are doing. It means that:
  1. You should not multitask
  2. You should prevent distraction
  3. You should use ultradian sprint to accomplish as much as possible within the working session
I am definitely well versed in the ways of goal making, but it's been awhile that I've been reminded of the importance of focusing and being obsessive with work, so to speak. By minimizing multitasking and preventing distraction--two simple steps, I can ensure that my time is used most effectively.

Hehe, I can't wait to try out this ultradian sprint!

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