"The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine." – Mike Murdock
Risky to quote a televangelist, especially one I haven't researched much, but in our context, this thought rings true.
Malcolm Gladwell talks about how 10,000 hours of preparation and repetition/practice becomes the line determining where one reaches a performance level that makes them an "outlier." (From his book Outliers).
When we think in terms of "fill," and what it means for the outcomes we're seeking, routine can be a pretty important consideration. It can also be anything but "routine" to get one established.
I have a dear friend who is a successful business consultant and coach. Her biggest challenge can be working a big engagement while still finding enough time to make sure there are new jobs lined up behind the one she's on right now.
She's good at it because she has a long-established commitment to networking and outreach.
My attorney buddies are constantly trying to balance the "bill vs. fill" dichotomy. The ones who get a routine going around biz dev are the ones who manage to also bill the most hours.
Delicate and difficult balancing, but whatever your job, it's part of your challenge; to create a routine that helps you focus on the important stuff, the big rocks in the jar.
And, as alluded to, routine just ain't as routine as it once was. There are parts of our lives that we try to commit to routine.
At home, we're trying to make sure the kids establish their routine around doing their homework immediately after school. Except for the nights they have piano. Or soccer. Or football. Or rehearsal for the show or the concert. Or youth club at church.
I face it, too. I try to get my 30 minutes at my desk early each morning for a daily reading, some Scripture time and some retrospective time. Unless I have a 5:30 AM flight from Chicago… or unless my flight the night before got in at 2 AM.
"Except." "Unless." Traps? Danger signals? Yes. Reality? You bet. So, we have to manage our commitment to "fill."
In fact, however we manage that commitment to "fill," it simply has to become a part of our DNA.
Oswald Chambers, the brilliant, long-dead and antagonistic author of my aforementioned daily devotional, reminds us "not to become a slave to our routine" to the level that it's detrimental to our desired outcome.
In other words, if it's not AT a specific time each day, maybe it just has to be FOR a specific time each day.
No easy answer here, but the fact remains. Creating a model, a routine, around "fill" will pay us dividends. How you do it might be worth some brainstorming time with your partners, your manager or your spouse. It might require some flexibility. But above all, it will require commitment.
Make something incredible happen today.
Steve Heston is vice president of Financial Services at Acxiom Corp.