It’s been almost two years since I’ve become my own boss, and I am still fairly bad at it. Any real boss would fire me. I take long lunches and don’t come back sometimes. I defer important tasks till the next day because it suddenly seems more important to go get groceries in the middle of the afternoon. It takes me eight hours to do three hours of writing. If you’ve ever emailed me, you may have first-hand experience with my near-glacial correspondence speed.
This is classic severe procrastinator behavior, and as bad as it is, it used to be worse. But I’m improving only about as quickly as a guitar player who takes six days off a week.
Not all areas of my life are as inefficient as my desk work though. When it comes to fitness I have become the opposite. For more than a year now I’ve been on top of my fitness programs, with no interruptions or start-overs. In the gym, I get my work done, with no compromises and no wasted time. I make real progress consistently and feel awesome about it.
I was talking this through with a fellow self-employee the other day, and wondered aloud, “Why can’t I be as good at my work-work as I am at my gym-work?”
Since then, this question—why does X go so well and Y so badly?—has become fascinating to me. Clearly something is seriously different about the way I approach each, the way I perceive the work.
You probably have a different X and Y than I do, but with a similar disparity in success at doing them. What part of your life do you handle well? What part are you perpetually botching?
It doesn’t seem like a comparison between lifting and working habits would yield any insights. Pressing a barbell over your head is nothing like outlining a book. But on a fundamental level, the two operations are the same: I have a list of stuff to do. At the gym I do it all. At my desk I don’t.
So I sat at the table with a cup of coffee and broke it all down. Why do I lift better than I work? Lots of reasons. Here are a few. Read More