This blog idea came to me while observing two flight attendants who took their work seriously.
Since I began writing this blog several years ago, I find that I am more in tune with what happens around me.
I am not purposely seeking ideas, but the fact that I am journaling events which happen in my life prompts me to have an acute awareness of my environment. This is a benefit because, for many years, I trudged through life unaware of the nuances that permeated it. Many of these were quite important, such as when someone was trying to offer advice or when a friend was seeking comfort.
The Routine Matters
When I think about my day-to-day activities, it seems like most of them, even up to 70% or so, are routine in nature.
For example …
- I check email earlier in the morning and respond to students and colleagues.
- I greet my wife and kids as we discuss our day.
- I teach a live class to my students.
- My wife and I meet for lunch during the weekday.
- I engage in volunteer work for one of the ministries at Holy Spirit, such as LOVESTRONG Marriage or ACTS.
- I exercise with a programmed workout in our home gym.
- I call my mom to chat with her about how her business is coming along.
As you can see, this list can be quite extensive. The point here is that most of our interactions with others is routine. For the most part, the time we devote to creative work is minimal.
Make the Routine AWESOME
Given that I spend most time with routine stuff, I want to put my best foot forward when engaged in these activities.
You might think this is hard to do, but let me share some experiences of employees practicing great habits in their daily routine …
- When traveling to India on business, I once stayed at a reasonably-priced hotel that offered unbelievable service. After completing the check-in process, a staff member walked me to the elevator and pressed the number to my floor.
- On a short United Airlines flight from Houston to San Antonio, the flight attendants ensured the First Class passengers received a drink and a snack. I’ve flown this segment many times in this same class, and oftentimes the flight attendants stayed seated or claimed that turbulence prevented them from performing the service.
- A customer support agent helping me via chat mentioned she would contact me a week later when the return label would be ready, and she followed-through.
I firmly believe that the top organizations in the world have a secret which is available to everyone: Make the ordinary special. In other words, get REALLY good at doing routine stuff.
As a project manager, I understand that creative and innovative work is important to a company’s success. However, even complex projects require that we perform many routine activities.
As you can see, success is straightforward … just do the everyday stuff better than anyone else in your industry.