Today my good friend Paula Pant, who is the proprietor of the terrific blog Afford Anything, has graciously agreed to bail me out while I finish up my vacation in Hawaii — so please, folks, check out her site! I’ll be back on Tuesday.
A few months ago I read an interesting analogy in the book Talent is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin.
The average runner, says the author, thinks about anything besides than the painful fact that heâ€™s running. Elite runners, by contrast, focus on every detail of their run. They monitor their strides. They critique their gait. They time their breath.
Thatâ€™s how top performers in all arenas behave, Colvin said. High-performing executives watch themselves from â€œoverhead,â€ as a trained observer would.
I could certainly use a dose of that. As a self-employed gal, my success hinges on how well I can manage my time. Thatâ€™s why I pay $70 a month for a membership to a co-working space (a shared office for freelancers). It helps me â€œgo to the officeâ€ everyday at 9 a.m. sharp.
Well, maybe â€œsharpâ€ is an exaggeration. Letâ€™s take a page from the high-performance playbook and observe how I structure my day.
8 a.m. â€“ Hit snooze.
8:05 â€“ Repeat.
8:52 â€“ Frantically search for my car keys, muttering curse words under my breath.
8:54 â€“ Get distracted from key search when I notice the cat is missing. Start searching for cat.
8:56 â€“ Found her! Sheâ€™s sleeping in an empty box that I was supposed to throw into the trash. Which reminds me: Iâ€™m supposed to put the trash on the curb today â€¦
8:59 â€“ Still canâ€™t find car keys, but discover an old pair of sunglasses in the bottom of my junk drawer. Is this shape is still in style?
9:02 â€“ Discover tweezers in the same junk drawer. Begin tweezing eyebrows. Try to create that Angelina Jolie arch.
9:05 â€“ Notice Iâ€™ve over-tweezed eyebrows. Start filling the gap with eyeshadow.
9:07 â€“ Realize Iâ€™m hungry. Wander into the kitchen for a cup of coffee.
9:09 â€“ Boil a pot of water with eggs on stove. Hard-boiled eggs are healthy, right?
9:12 â€“ Notice stack of mail on kitchen table. Start riffling through it. Netflix is here! Letâ€™s see what movie they shipped. Oh, itâ€™s The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. Hmm, thatâ€™s funny. I thought Cars 2 was the next movie in my queue?
9:14 â€“ Log into Netflix to check movie queue. When is Cars 2 arriving?
9:17 â€“ Notice headlines in the top bar of my Internet browser. Looks like the wildfire in Colorado has spread.
9:18 – Look at photos of Colorado wildfire.
9:22 â€“ Notice that the same news website has a photo gallery of the London Olympic setup. Click on pictures.
9:24 â€“ Smell something funky coming from kitchen. Oh no, the eggs are burning!
9:25 â€“ Hear the screeching sound of kitchen smoke detector. Ugh, that thing is WAY too sensitive.
9:26 â€“ Stand on chair and try to turn off smoke detector. Canâ€™t reach.
9:27 â€“ Open windows to air out the room. Remember that one window is sealed shut from layers of paint. Need to call a handyman to fix that.
9:29 â€“ Start Googling â€œhandymen in Atlanta.â€
9:42 â€“ Finish emailing three handyman companies. Turn attention back to photo gallery of London Olympics.
9:54 â€“ Notice clock. Oops, itâ€™s almost 10 a.m. Guess I better go to the office.
9:56 â€“ Realize I still havenâ€™t found car keys. Resume search.
10:02 â€“ Found them! They were in my purse the whole time!
10:08 â€“ Get into my car. Turn the key in the ignition.
10:09 – Realize I forgot to put trash on the curb. Get out of car.
10:12 â€“ Put trash on curb. Get back in car.
10:16 â€“ Still hungry. Didnâ€™t get a chance to eat, after I burned those eggs. Swing by grocery store on the way to the office.
10:22 â€“ Youâ€™ve got to be kidding me — $4 for a prepackaged breakfast burrito? Stroll the store for better deals.
10:30 â€“ Start feeling anxious about the fact that I havenâ€™t gone into work yet.
10:35 â€“ Call boyfriend to complain about feeling anxious.
10:46 â€“ Arrive at the office! Iâ€™m here!
There you have it â€¦ a day in the life of an aspiring high performer. Emphasis, of course, on the â€œaspiring.â€ Looks like I have a long way to go.
But donâ€™t worry. If this self-employment thing doesnâ€™t work out, I can always take up running.
Like this article? Read more about my zig-zag road to success at Afford Anything!
Photo Credit: Vivek Patankar