Helping Creative People Create

The World’s Best Boss is Standing in the Mirror

best boss in the mirror
After six hours of working in front of a computer, the only thing that really makes me feel better is a run.

Yesterday I knew I needed a break but didn’t have much time, so I laced up my running shoes anyway and ran as hard as I could for 15 minutes. Talk about cathartic.

While it wasn’t that long of a run, it was exactly what I needed: a quick jolt to my mind, and something to get my heart rate up. After a glass of water and a quick shower, I was back working like I had just started the day.

***

I’ve learned to listen to my body (and wife) to make the most of my time and energy levels. In fact, it’s the one reason I’m able to get up in the early morning and start my day excited.

I’ve worked both as a freelance consultant and with a company with layers of management, and I’ve been able to “be my own boss” in both places. It’s not that hard.

So many workers experience letdown when their bosses don’t manage them well, but I’d bet that the problem lies in our ability to make it clear how we work best.

Think about this: who best knows your workflow?

  • when are you productive/not productive?
  • what aspect of your day really motivates you?
  • what projects excite you most?
  • what physical environment is your best for working?

By answering these questions you can start to build a framework that optimizes how you work.

For example, I’ve found that I do my best thinking in the early morning hours, so that’s when I tackle the most intensive tasks of the day. I do more administrative (thoughtless) tasks in the afternoon, when my mind is aching for a siesta.

This works perfectly for me, and my bosses don’t try to micromanage my workflow. As long as I’m working hard and getting stuff done, they don’t care. They get it.

In fact, most management I’ve worked with are pretty accommodating to weird workflows if that’s when you’re most productive.

But the key here is you have to tell them. It’s impossible for a boss to know these things. The best person to manage your work is you.

You’re the only one capable of knowing exactly what you need to stay motivated and happy. You are your best boss.

The key is figuring out for yourself what you need to work your best, and letting everyone else know.

Join the discussion or vote on Hacker News

Photo by Profound Whatever

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

DebraC May 6, 2011 at 7:54 am

Working as a freelancer gives you a lot more latitude when it comes to working productively. Everyone has their productivity peaks and troughs, and you need to be aware of those productivity troughs. Better to have a break during those times, and then return to work with renewed energy.

If you are in a day job, then as you mentioned communicating to your boss the environment that you work best in is critical to achieving better productivity. Nothing worse than having a micro manager!

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Glen Stansberry May 6, 2011 at 4:09 pm

@fd02f6635f7d1c9eac85b571c653b7a8:disqus Yeah, there’s a lot more latitude, and unfortunately many companies would rather have you in a seat from 9-5 instead of working when *you* work best.

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Laptop battery Love journey May 8, 2011 at 7:56 am

little word ,less wild.http://goo.gl/rTXXT

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vic May 19, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I’m all about the 15 min runs. It surely will give you the addtional boost you need. 

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alex petrenko June 10, 2011 at 6:48 am

I also noticed that in the morning and my brain works much better

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Nick June 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Definitely got to pay attention to when you’re brain is kicking harder. Morning time I’m good to go but once lunch comes around, need to stop and refuel. Usually get a nice little kick in the afternoon but by night, I’m usually fried.

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Arlene Marie Daniels June 26, 2011 at 7:36 am

I agree with everything you said. Nobody knows how to manage us more than ourselves. Some people think that the freelance life is all bliss and ease, but it’s not, it really does involve work too. Real work. 

But if you guys are interested in growing and being the best boss ever, here’s a nice inspirational book. http://www.howtostopselfsabotage.com. Seems like a good read. :)

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Akhilshm July 3, 2011 at 2:37 am

Everthing you said is absolutely correct, You are lucky that you are the boss. We people who work under someone else has a lot of burden on our shoulders as well as on our minds. For me writting is the thing which helps me freshing my mind. http://premierleaguecricket.blogspot.com/

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Chip Hiden July 13, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Great post, I’m like you and I tend to do my best thinking in the morning and find myself lagging in the afternoon. I often get bursts of creative energy late at night. Its kind of a shame that the majority of society is stuck on a 9 to 5 work schedule even though many people are not necessarily the most productive during those times.

The author, Stephen Covey talks about how many businesses still operate as if we were Industrial Age and not the current era, which he calls the Knowledge Worker Age. So, the 9-5 workday and the hierarchical structure of the typical workplace are all products of an era that is no longer in sync with today’s realities.

Just a thought… hopefully forward-thinking companies and the trends like the ‘rise of freelancers’ will lead to positive changes in the workplace of the future.

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Glen Stansberry July 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

“So, the 9-5 workday and the hierarchical structure of the typical workplace
are all products of an era that is no longer in sync with today’s
realities.”

Chip, I couldn’t agree more!

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Malik Mirza July 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Glen – i wish that instead of the picture, there was some kind of technology through which you could have placed a ‘mirror’!

Everyone can be one’s own boss – no doubt about that. Even if we work at a company, we can manage our attitudes!

There is a very interesting story which was told to us by one of our trainers with the title: who can change you?.

It goes like this: Once a zen monk decides to learn ‘civic manners’ and hence, goes to New York. He sets up his hot dog cart. A banker comes out at lunch time and asks him the cost of a hot dog to which the monk replies: $ 7. Banker asks the monk to provide him with one. When monk gives the banker a hot dog, Banker gives a $ 10 note. Monk respectfully takes the 10 dollar bill, folds it, kisses it and puts it in his pocket.

The banker says: You said the hot dot is $ 7.
Monk says: Yes sir
Banker says: I gave you $ 10
Monk says: Yes sir
Banker says: Where is the change?

Monk bows respectfully in front of banker and replies:

Sir – our teachers said: Change comes from within!

regards

Malik Mirza
http://wisdomfrombooks.com

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Michael Tucker July 25, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I’ve been and entrepreneur for 5 years now and while it has it’s ups and downs I totally love the freedom and flexibility to create life on my terms.  What I’ve recently concluded is that passion is a precursor for success. The more passionate I am about my work, the less outside motivation needed and the more productive I am.

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Glen Stansberry July 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Good point. Can’t be great at something you’re not passionate about. I love
Chris Guillebeau’s take on “Hell Yeah” projects and success:

http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/an-important-thing-no-one-will-tell-you/

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Ergonomic Chair July 27, 2011 at 6:13 am

People have to think of ways to empower their selves and become the best of what they can possibly be. It is just a matter of putting their selves in charge and for sure, there will be more reason to find comfort in an [url=
http://www.ergonomicchair.org/news/42/5-Items-That-Really-Didn%E2%80%99t-Need-to-Go-Ergonomic.html/%5Dergonomic chair[/url].

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Paul Montwill August 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Recently I had a similar situation when I struggled to write a blog post and after a 15 minutes run it went like a charm! Especially when you have a family and not much free time with small kids, running is the easiest and cheapest sport.

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Rohman August 23, 2011 at 12:11 am

I think to be your own boss is a matter of maintaining your motivation in doing your tasks. How you can keep your self excited, motivated, and willing to complete each daily tasks well and on time.

You need to have a good time management, self discipline, goals that drive you, creativity and endurance in facing the failure. As a self employee you should be able to wake your self up when you are down and persist in achieving the goal. 

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John Williams January 5, 2012 at 2:00 am

As a freelancer there are different ways and strategies that can help use stay productive you should know it yourself what are your strong point and weak points. Take advantage on those strong points and continuously work out those weak points. Working as a freelancer where time is essential and you control your own time. Managing time effectively allows you to do more work specially when working on different clients. There are also different online tools that can help you manage time it is depends on what you need most.

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