Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Showing Up (not if, but how)

Showing up matters.

  • The garden will not get planted unless the gardener shows up to dig.
  • A marathon (or a 10k or a 5k or a mile) will not be completed unless the runner shows up to run.
  • Photos will not get edited unless the photographer sits down to edit.
  • Writing will not get done unless the writer shows up to write.

I work from home and don't punch a time-clock. So, it's even more critical to show up. Go pro. Butt in the chair. Do the work.

Because work doesn't do itself. Whether a carpenter or an accountant or a web designer - the way to get work done is to show up and do the work.

That's obvious.

But there's more to showing up than showing up.

Showing up is only half the battle. Less than half.

How we show up also matters. Maybe matters more.

For those who do creative and knowledge work, it's not enough to be present. We're not going to produce our best work unless we think of ourselves like athletes or craftspeople. Our showing up must be deliberate. Conscious. Intended.

When I sit down to work, I aim to be in a prepared state of mind. My personal goal is for the following:

Rested

The beauty of sleep is something I appreciate - increasingly. Entering into a project, whether it's writing, spreadsheet creation, or (like this week) non-stop face to face meetings, rest is crucial for top performance. I don't do my best work when I'm mentally or physically exhausted. Our brains are not meant to function without downtime, rest, and sleep. It's like running your car without oil. You will seize up.

Undistracted

We need to stop our attempts at multitasking. It's not working. Face the facts. We can't do it. Our best work will not be accomplished while the mind is going in multiple directions. Turn off distractions. Keep a tidied workspace. My personal preference is to not use my email inbox as the starting point of work.

Warmed up

Like any good athlete, warmup is important. For my work, this means a morning routine. I try to keep a consistent regimen of quiet, reading, praying, writing, and thinking. These things get my brain ready to jump into whatever work is in front of me for the day.

I sometimes joke about the ability to show up to work without pants. And while I technically can - I don't. Before I sit at the desk for work, I'm dressed (pants and everything) and warmed up mentally. Desk is clear. If necessary, the Internet is off. Begin rested and ready to go.

Showing up is half the battle (less than half). Showing up prepared - wins the battle.