Victus Spiritus


Promises We Make To Ourselves are Beyond Duty

14 May 2009


Time in Our Modern Culture
The work day has crept unceasingly into our spare time by blackberries, laptops, email, and now social media.  We have increased complexity in our technology and increased demands on our time to keep up with the changing pace.  The growing consumption of our attention away from our family and hobbies is a result of "work creep".  It is my hope that you are moving towards a job you love, so your hobby and your work time can share the same space with some overlap.  As responsibilities are leveraged on us by our corporation, our coworkers or by our customers it increases the challenge of balancing work with the rest of our lives.  We've only got a limited amount of that most precious resource TIME, which we need to market most carefully.

Managing Our Responsibilities
The key to keeping pace with our responsibilities is by ensuring that they are all promises we make to ourselves.  When we internalize the needs of others, and make them our own it completely changes the way we view that responsibility.  By recognizing the needs of those we work with and our customers we are able to make a promise to ourselves.  We can realign our perception to that of someone other than ourselves and adopt their challenges as our own.

This isn't a method of self deception or a blanket acceptance of responsibility for the world.  In the scope of our sphere of influence, we take responsibility for the impact our efforts can have in a realistic way.  If a customer abuses this privilege and requires too much of your time, we simply have to let them go.

Take Care of Your Best Customers
We should make it a priority to put in exceptional effort for our best customers.  These are the folks who don't bug us needlessly and on the contrary continually support us.  And when they do contact us it's always polite, respectful and enjoyable.  Our best customers are much more than that.  They are friends of ours and our business.  They are the marketeers of our success.  If our boss or co-worker get's a last minute job tossed at them, we should make sure we are there to share the load if it's something within our purview.

They'll Be Things Outside of Our Influence
Before taking on a task or responsibility we have to judge whether or not we can satisfy it.  Saying NO is an effective means of communication, and it is under used in the modern workplace.  Some of us are afraid of turning down a request from a boss, or customer.  But it is vital to both our happiness and for the long term success of our business that we are honest about what we can achieve.  We need to know ourselves enough, so that we may best estimate the limits of our contributions.

Other priorities may take precedence like our families or additional tasks that we are already committed to.  An overloaded worker is one who hasn't developed a system for prioritizing what's most important.  In the short term we can be loose and reckless to gauge our current limits, but over the long term we should consider saying no to requests that are unreasonable demands on our time.  This is needed in order to find satisfaction and balance in our daily work lives.

Make Sure We Satisfy All Our Self-Made Promises First
But how can we execute and be effective if we are selfish with our priorities?  A conflict occurs when there is a mismatch between our priorities and the expectations of those we work with and we ultimately suffer.  By aligning our needs with the needs of others everything is going to flow smoother.  At every opportunity we should strive to put ourselves in a position where the promises we make to ourselves are going to naturally satisfy our customers and coworkers.