Perspective and Digital Work

When you are building a wall it is very easy to see your progress on any given day. As soon as you step away you can see exactly how much new wall you’ve put up. You know how successful each day has been.

But the end of the day is different when you are doing Knowledge work. You close your laptop at the end of the day and whether you have had the most productive day of your life or the worst day, nothing is different about your physical environment.

As humans, we get a lot of natural fulfillment in relationship to our environment. There is something deeply satisfying about building something physical that is much harder to capture with digital work.

As a result of this intangibility that comes with digital work, to feel happy and satisfied at the end of the day is as much about perspective as it is about actual results.

If you leave your work at 7 pm thinking about the items that are still on your to-do list, you will have a feeling of incompleteness.

If you leave work at 7 pm thinking about all the things that you got done during the day you will likely feel lighter and more satisfied.

For me, and most people I know, the natural tendency is to focus on the stuff that didn’t get done. The things left on your to-do list, instead of what you’ve crossed off. But if you continue this day after day you will eventually get beat down by a feeling of failure.

To maintain results and confidence, the better option is to consciously choose to take time at the end of them to focus on what you got done. To review your wins for the day so the feeling that lingers as you go into your evening is one of accomplishment and not failure.

Investing a few minutes at the end of each workday to review your wins and plan your most important work for the next day, helps you gain perspective on the intangible results of digital work. Writing out your key tasks allows you to release yourself from the anxiety of worrying what you need to start the next day with.

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