The book Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay is a great book the importance of figuring out and focusing on your Great Work. I’m a big believer in the human drive to contribute to something bigger than ourselves and one of the problems with society is that most people don’t recognize the need to do more than just earn a paycheck.
The book is actually a series of thought exercises that you can do on downloadable “maps” that are designed to get you thinking about a certain aspect of doing more Great Work. From figuring out what that means to you to pinpointing a project and planning out the steps to complete it, each chapter brings you closer to clearer picture about what you should really be doing with your time and energy.
Each chapter is pretty short and the maps are designed to be completed pretty quickly. This isn’t a deep, involved process (although I’m sure you could make it one) but is instead a great way to kick start your brain in a specific direction. In fact, some of the “maps” can be used to brainstorm in general and I found myself getting some great ideas about generating ideas (that sounds funny but you know what I mean).
This book also had a few great points that I wanted to share…
#1: There are 3 kinds of work – Bad, Good and Great.
Bad Work is the stuff we hate doing and odds are we don’t have to do, we just let ourselves get sucked into it. Stop doing this stuff immediately.
Good work is the average, everyday stuff that you probably find yourself spending most of your time on – you don’t hate it and it pays the bills. You probably have to do most of this but you’re goal is to minimize it so you can spend more time on the next kind of work…
Great work is the stuff that gets you really excited and you would probably do for free – it’s the stuff that contributes to your bigger vision for yourself and/ or the world.
#2: Great work eventually becomes Good work. What you once found exciting, fresh and invigorating will eventually become routine and less exciting. Just be aware of that and plan ahead, knowing that what counts as Great Work today may need to be minimized or delegated at some point in the future.
#3: Figure out what your Great Work is and then focus on it: I’ve had the habit of making a list of stuff I need to do the next day for a few years now. However, this book made me realize that I was filling it up each day with Good Work and often going days without adding a Great Work item to my daily list. I’ve now started dividing my list into two sections – Great Work and Good Work – and make sure that I have at least 1 item in the Great Work column every day. I focus on that item first thing so that if something doesn’t get done that day it isn’t the most important thing on my list.
I’ve personally found myself feeling the need for a fresh direction lately, which is one of the reasons I bought this book. I realized after reading this book that some of the things that I once considered Great Work were only Good Work and did not get me as fired up as they once did. I also realized that I was filling my daily task list with Good Work and letting my Great Work projects slide. Luckily, these are both things that are easily fixed and I’ve already found myself more excited about what I am doing each day.
Overall I’ve really liked this book and recommend it anyone who is looking for a fresh perspective on where they are and what they really want to do with their life/ job/ family/ etc. I know it doesn’t really have anything to do with mountain biking directly but I am also a big believer in the idea that how you do one thing is how you do everything – by finding peace and focus with your life your riding is sure to benefit as well.