Stop planning, start doing

Jonathan Davis

Some people call it “the hustle,” others “the grind”; regardless of how you prefer to work, it constitutes a huge percentage of our lives. That can sound bleak to some, but it’s what you choose to do with that time that truly impacts your quality of work, and in the long run, your quality of life.

My work involves optimizing websites, technically for search engines, and both visually and verbally for users. This process involves extensive audits from these varying perspectives, and mine is an industry that can shift wildly from week to week, and sometimes, day to day. Aggressively seeking out new trends and ensuring my clients’ websites adhere to frequently updated guidelines is crucial to succeeding in an increasingly competitive and demanding marketplace. It also happens to be part of one of our values at liquidfish – craftsmanship.

That’s why I allocate a portion of my daily routine for continuing education on these topics. It seems like the most obvious thing in the world, but it’s made a huge and lasting impact on the quality of my work, and the progress my clients see in their reports each month. So why not apply that same guiding principle of continuing education to the rest of my life?

One question I try to continually ask myself is the following:

Could I be using this time more intelligently?

The answer is almost always yes, and that’s not a problem! Downtime is as important as uptime; however, prioritizing activities and interests which contribute to personal development beyond career ambitions is essential to a healthy work-life balance. By reflecting on what decisions we make and what habits we keep on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis, it’s possible to optimize our lives around the goals we set for ourselves.

Compromise and sacrifice are unfortunately the names of the game here. Unless you’ve adopted a polyphasic sleep cycle, you likely need between 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Combined with work, chores, and other responsibilities, that cuts into the amount of time one can spend pursuing hobbies and interests. Fitness, learning a second language, investing in a new skill or learning an instrument are all goals we think about pursuing, but many never do.

I have found the keys to success here to be consistency and being realistic with yourself. No one makes meaningful progress in something worth pursuing immediately. It takes hundreds, if not thousands of hours to master virtually anything worth mastering. So why not start immediately? A daily investment of only 45 minutes shapes up to be meaningful progress in the long run. Most of us can afford that, largely at the expense of time in front of the television