The Charge: Control

One of the more interesting notions in The Charge is the one where how much of a given drive you have is simply up to you.

So the drive for control isn’t a drive to have more control, or to control this or that aspect of your life – but a drive to feel like you have the right amount of control. If you’re a big control freak, this drive will be for detailed control over all the minutia of your life. If you’re more of an anarchist, the drive will head in the opposite direction – to get rid of this detailed control, so you don’t have to deal with it.

Brendon also splits this up into three different types of control, which I found to be a reasonably productive idea.  These three types of control are basically yourself, your lifestyle, and your job. (He uses different terms.)

Controlling yourself is basically about feeling like you get to be part of the world you want to be a part of.  That may sound a little weird and touchy-feely, but look around; there are plenty of people stuck in a world they don’t want to be a part of. I myself was in that situation just a couple months ago; I was trying to manage my business in a way that was compatible with other people’s businesses, and those other people basically wanted nothing to do with it because “compatible” wasn’t enough. They wanted my business to look just like theirs, instead of just being compatible with it. So I walked away from that, because they were removing my control over myself by trying to control who I was.

Similarly, control over lifestyle is important. Simply put, this is the ability to control the work/life balance as well as the old/new balance. Instead of feeling trapped in the office or a routine, you have a certain drive to walk away from the office a certain amount of time, and to try new things at a certain frequency. These are what allow you to grow as a person and as a professional. Brendon goes so far as to recommend taking a short vacation (or “stay-cation,” where you don’t go anywhere, but just take time off) every ninety days… one to five days at a time. This isn’t a terrible idea.

The real productivity tip – and the one everyone seems to be focused on – is control over your job. He’s got a worksheet that goes along with that, which he tells coaching clients to fill out by hand every morning.

It’s basically Products – People – Priorities; you list your top three projects, and five big things you MUST do to move each project forward. Then you list the people you need to contact, and the people you need to contact you. Finally, you list the things you MUST get done today no matter what.

Once the worksheet is done, you go into your email inbox, and read ONLY the emails from people you listed on the sheet – then send emails to ONLY the people listed on the sheet, as necessary. No other email is dealt with until the end of the day.

When you’ve finished these emails, you shut your email client, then proceed to work your way down all the things you MUST do today. After you’ve finished those, you work on the things you MUST do to move your projects forward; and when you’ve done all you can do there, you’re done for the day.

It’s reasonably simple, and a good idea. Planning your days is a pretty simple thing, but people who neglect it often have zero control over their work day.

Tomorrow we’ll go over the drive for competence.

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