Subconsciously, I’d pulled my old procrastination habit out of the closet for another go. Deadlines started creeping up or my manager would ask me about my progress o a specific project, and I’d scramble to accumulate information and put haphazard finishing touches on assignments.
And then I was sent to a conference for work. One of the first sessions was on office etiquette and how to win over customers. Though not directly related to customer service, a point the presenter made resonated with me to the core. She said, “Under promise, and over deliver. If you say you’ll have something to someone by Wednesday, get it to them on Tuesday at the latest.”
Simple. And yet so powerful.
The Virtues Project™ defines diligence as, “doing what needs to be done with care, concentration, and single-pointed attention.” The Virtues Project™ goes on to say that we employ diligence in our work and in our relationships. It is through Diligence that we perform at our best and give our full commitment to that which is in front of us. I quickly realized that I couldn’t fully commit to doing my job well if the latest news article constantly distracted me or I was spending my time updating my personal blog.
I knew that I needed help in the Diligence department so I began researching productivity improvement resources. I happened upon the Pomodoro Technique®. Please note that I am not endorsing this technique as the only available resource, but this particular one worked well for me.
The Pomodoro Technique® provided me the ability to do my work with Diligence. I learned the power of time-management and prioritization.
What I didn’t expect, though, was that reassessing my lack of Diligence and working to improve my use of this important virtue enhanced my overall experience in the workplace.
By giving my full effort to the task at hand, I became much more efficient and involved in my projects. Distractions began to melt away naturally because I found myself engrossed in my work. I placed emphasis on “single-pointed attention,” because I know how easily I can get caught up in the glorification of multi-tasking. More often than not, when I attempt to multi-task, I end up with a pile of half-finished work rather than multiple assignments completed. This idea of single-pointed attention made all the difference.
Assignments and projects and to-do lists not only got completed, but they were done with more focus, which enhanced the quality of my work. This, in turn, provided me with a source of pride and appreciation, which then made me want to produce more quality work.
As it turned out, Diligence was precisely what I needed to get me back on track. I now have renewed focus and an ever-deeper sense of gratitude for this lesson in Diligence.