The Secret to Enjoying Your Work: Focus on the Process, Not Perfection.

January 1, 2017

The Secret to Enjoying Your Work: Focus on the Process, Not Perfection.

 

You probably know the feeling: A high-pressure project comes your way and the next few days, weeks or even months become a stressful blur. You focus relentlessly on your goal and worry constantly about the end result. When it’s over, you might feel accomplished, but you also feel drained.

When we operate this way, we miss a lot. We fail to see our days for what they are – opportunities to appreciate our skills and to love our work. We are looking to the future and aren’t grounded in the present. We aren’t enjoying the process.

This approach not only sacrifices the enjoyment of your day, but it can also make you less effective. As you rush through your work, you are more likely to make mistakes. You can become impatient, leading to negativity and poor group dynamics. Your collaboration will suffer.

As professional musicians, we at New House Productions have experienced this type of thinking a lot over our careers. We tend to stress about delivering a perfect performance. Anything less is a disappointment. But while it’s important to examine the ways we can do better, loving the process improves our perspective. When we cherish the individual practices, the group rehearsals, the little challenges and victories, we feel better about our finished product, no matter the outcome.

It might seem counterintuitive, but slowing down and appreciating your work can make you more productive. You are more likely to entertain creative solutions, have constructive conversations and avoid multitasking. When each person on your team enjoys the process, you can come together to create a quality product you all feel good about.

This also helps with another area we frequently discuss in our training sessions at New House: the willingness to fail. When we are comfortable with every step of the process, we accept beginnings and endings, successes and failures, highs and lows … we see them as steps along life’s journey. A willingness to try creative solutions – and to fail together – leads to innovation.

At the next opportunity, try following these tips for enjoying the process:

1. Avoid tedium by trying something new. A routine is helpful until it becomes constricting. Next time, try working a few minutes in a new location, or with a change to the sights, sounds and smells of your usual spot. Or try a new approach to a common task or assignment.
2. Take time to reflect on what you and your team accomplish. Sometimes you may feel that you’re “spinning your wheels.” But you can likely find something at the end of each day that you can stop and appreciate – even if it’s an opportunity to learn from a mistake and get better.
3. Take a mindful approach. Throughout your day, take a moment to breathe and “check in” with yourself and how you’re feeling. Taking this simple step to stay grounded in the present can keep you from getting swept away in your work, and help you feel more peaceful.

New House Productions is a team of musicians, educators and speakers with years of combined experience performing around the world. Using the analogy of a musical ensemble, we provide skills training for organizations with a focus on collaboration. We illustrate our lessons through a live musical performance.
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