Reading, Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier, the book challenges you to observe how much, bad, good and great work you are doing currently and charting how you spend your time. To know how to categorize your own work, here are his abbreviated definitions peppered with my observations.
Bad Work – A waste of time, energy and life (this is the work that sucks the living daylights out of you, has you wondering what you did all day, leads to procrastination and brain freeze, keeps you stuck and has a negative zero net gain giving you a new reason to recover from yourself)
Good Work – Familiar, useful and productive (this is work you do well, do with predictability, do it because it must be done. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, quiet satisfaction and if you’re in Bad Work Recovery Mode – a sense of jubilation that you didn’t screw yourself – boo yah!)
Great Work – Meaningful, makes a difference, inspires, stretches, provokes and is the work that matters (this is the work that dares you to make stuff up and believe in it, to say, “Things must change and I’m going to change them!” This is the work that makes you look nuts to the rest of the world, allows you to think deeply and act in accordance. Great work is equal to great purpose whatever that purpose is. It is the total permission to be yourself and actually do IT, whatever IT is.)
According to the book, great work is often done imperfectly with imperfect skills by people working at the edge of their competency. Some years great work is creative thinking, gathering and laying the groundwork and other years great work is the actual work.
So today after reviewing my own pie chart of Bad, Good and Great Work the single greatest takeaway for me is to proclaim today – Do Only What is Necessary Day.
But I’m going to extend it to everything – to work, to life, to food and fitness, to money, relationships, input and output.
Doing only what is necessary is going to force me to be more conscious of the hundreds of decisions I make or don’t make each day and act in conscious accordance. It is going to make me more responsible for my behavior and ultimately that equates to my destiny.
So here’s to launching, Do Only What is Necessary Day! If it has the impact I think it will, it will be the first of many more focused and aligned days (done as often as possible and imperfectly).