I’ve been reading and learning a lot lately about productivity in an effort to improve several personal and professional habits. I’ve learned a lot of useful things, including one concept called “inbox zero”– getting to the point where you have no emails in your inbox because everything’s been addressed or filed. For cubicle cowboys like me, this is a daily gauntlet to be thrown down and taken up.
Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
So as my perspective on work has been shifting lately to a more proactive and aggressive (in the proper sense) stance, my goal has shifted. I’ve stopped seeking to be left alone. I’ve even stopped chasing Inbox Zero. Now, my focus at work every day is on WIAT (in my head, it sounds like “Wyatt”).
Every day, I create a draft email with the subject line reading “WIAT” and the date. And in that email, throughout the day, I make a note of everything I’ve gotten done. Projects finished, projects started, emails sent. Anything that’s actual work in my job goes into the email marked “WIAT”: What I Accomplished Today. At the end of the day, I send the email to myself and store it in a folder on my computer. No one else may ever see the emails. But I see them. And like tracking calories or living by a budget, I am now a bit more accountable to myself. I see when my work ethic lags, and it keeps me motivated to stay on task.
My goal at work isn’t to have a clean-but-empty barn. My goal is to work hard and produce a harvest. An empty barn only serves my own interests. But if I’m looking to the interests of others, I’ll volunteer for more, take on new responsibilities, and seek to pour myself and be a blessing to the people around me and those who depend on the service I provide.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to pick up my shovel and get to it.