The 4 Types of Work
Last Tuesday, I wrote a post about Energy Management and Time Management. It was very well received as many could relate to the concept. One of the fundamental points in that post was about matching your Energy to the Type of work you do. This means doing the most difficult work when you have the most energy; for most of us, it is morning time when we are at our best. So, what is that work?
There are 4 types of work that most of us do but we all do it in different proportions. The difference between a world class professional and a mediocre one can be easily understood by observing the type of work they do, and the time spent on a particular type of work.
The first type of work is what I would call as Deep Work. In fact, I had written a post “Are you doing Deep Work?” on November 10th, 2020. Deep Work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. This is a critical part of your work and it’s best done the first thing in the morning. This is the work that you do on your Own. For me (to name a few), this is Thinking & Working on Creating Leverage for the Business, Writing, Creating Content, Designing a Product, and Learning. I do it when I am at my sharpest and the best time for me is from 6 – 8:30 AM. I add a couple of more hours to this and generally I am done with my 4 Hour Deep work every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday by 12:30 PM. On other days, there is 2-3 hours of Deep Work mostly in the morning and some in the afternoon. It is because of this Deep Work I was able to write my best content at scale in the last 1 year (FYI, I wrote more than 250+ published posts, 1100 pieces of ideas/thoughts for my content library, 1 Book, 2 Sketch Books and material for 2 more Books). However, Content is just one part of my Deep Work rather the secondary part of my deep work. There are many primary parts including scaling up Happyness Factory, Launching a US Wealth Management Firm, Building Teams, Developing New Products, Sales, Fund Raising, helping other businesses I am a part of and Learning.
The second type of Work is Teamwork. We all need to work in Teams, and this is a major part of our working lives. Even if you are a solo practitioner, you will still need to collaborate with many different people in your industry/profession. Thus, team members or collaboration hours are a critical part of the work we do, whether it is working on a client’s financial strategy or preparing for a key meeting. This work also includes many things such as defining a service offering, preparing for a client event, marketing, building teams, operations, compliance , client servicing and it almost touches every area of this business and involves team members across the organization. Even the simple act of evaluating a software or a product involves team members getting together not to mention the Study Circle work that many distributors and advisors engage in.
The third type of work is what I would call as Critical Work. There is an overlap between this and Team Work sometimes and it includes things such as prospecting, client acquisition meetings, actual client meetings, and marketing. This is an extremely key for the success of any organization and you should be measuring the time that is spent on this one. This is again the backbone of your business and must be done when you are at your best. You can utilize some breakfast and lunch hours (a few days a week) for this.
The fourth type of work is called Monkey Work, and this is where I see a lot of time getting wasted. I hear this gem all the time “I don’t have time till 3:30 pm. It’s Market Hours.” I cannot tell you how crazy this is and is a key area of wastage for most distributors and advisors. I do not know what they really do during these hours wasting time on Business Channels and Stuff. The best professionals in this space finish their Deep Work, Teamwork and Critical Work by 4 pm and thus they can do more later such as helping others, doing industry work, and additional Team and Critical Work. The other key Monkey Work is wasting time with people on “Where is the Market Headed?” Events and Sessions. Some others include complaining, criticizing other folks, obsessing over Products, Economy, Financial Pornography, and many others.
Knowing about these 4 types of work is good but the best thing is when you do something about it.
Thus, a Simple yet Powerful Action Point for you.
Measure how much time you truly spend doing each type of work. Do not need to do something fancy. Just a paper and pen are good. Every Activity that you do, mark it as one of the 4 types. Do it every day for a week first and then a month. Do it for 7 days and email me what you found out. I will be able to share some additional thoughts for you but (even if you do not send me) most importantly, you will truly become self-aware of your current situation and where you really need to make changes. This exercise can give you tremendous insights. Reflect on this Lao Tzu quote: “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”
P.S. Today and this week’s Monkey Work is centered around the Budget and it’s impact. To save some time by getting a fresh insight, read this blog post We live in Interesting Times that I wrote for investors. Feel free to share it with your prospects and clients.