There are some tasks that require all of our effort and energy. These types of tasks demand our best efforts and constant ongoing improvement. For example, if you are a parent, you should always be performing at your best and constantly seeking to be a better parent.
On the other hand, there are routine, mundane tasks that each of us must perform regularly. These tasks simply require a basic level of performance within a certain window of acceptability.
A doctor does not pour his cup of coffee each morning with the same degree of exacting focus that he employs when he performs surgery. We are all confronted with the ongoing question, “When is good enough, good enough?”
If you are pouring your morning cup of coffee, good enough involves merely getting the coffee into the cup without spilling it on anything else. If you’re performing brain surgery on someone’s friend or loved one, good enough can never be good enough.
Our job, as we seek excellence in our personal and professional lives, is to focus our effort and energy on the things that matter instead of the things that don’t matter. Ideally, we should be spending more of our waking and working hours on the things that matter, and less time on things that don’t matter.
I do not know what work routine Michelangelo utilized when he was painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Although I have studied the life and work of Michelangelo, the specific aspects of his routines are lost to history.
We are simply left with a masterpiece and the supposition that Michelangelo did not clean his paintbrushes and set up the scaffolding with the same brilliance and genius intensity with which he painted his masterpiece. I would like to think that the master had interns, assistants, or apprentices who performed the support tasks that allowed Michelangelo to bring his maximum attention to the project.
As you continue to build the level of your expertise in your chosen field, delegate or eliminate as many tasks as possible that do not lie within your core competency. While having clean paintbrushes and properly-erected scaffolding are important, they do not need to be accomplished or even overseen by the master.
As you go through your day today, strive to become a master, and focus on the things that are never good enough.
Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by e-mail at JimStovall@aol.com or by visiting www.JimStovall.com
Key Points: Spend the bulk of your time on the things that if completed will yield you the maximum results or sense of achievement. That is not to say you completely ignore or put off doing more administrative tasks, or “low level tasks” — it’s just to say that you look for opportunities to delegate them out (i.e. have someone else do them for you) or work on them after your “high level” items are completed. Doing so will take a bit of planning and follow through on your part, but you’re more than capable, and worth taking the time to do so!
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