never go to work again

Since we moved our office from Albert Park to West Melbourne we have learned a lot about the value of unassigned workspaces. There are a lot of freedoms and efficiencies to be gained from being mobile and ‘working light’.

Over the last couple of days I have been thinking about the next level … pushing the principle of mobility even further. One of the observations I have made from across a variety of organisations, is that mediocrity and even slackness in performance is usually accompanied by an unconscious attitude that once I have turned up and am sitting at my desk, I am 80% of the way to doing my job.

But turning up does not contribute directly to delivery. Delivery, execution, high performance or whatever we want to call it, has to do with focussed and disciplined work that is aligned with strategic priorities. So if ‘turning up’ is irrelevant to delivery, why turn up at all? Seriously.

(Now, I’m aware that I am speaking from a professional services paradigm and that this will not apply to say retail or manufacturing. But that doesn’t mean those who can apply these ideas shouldn’t push the boundaries.)

Maybe it is time we changed our language, because as postmodernism has taught us, language not only describes but also creates reality. So let’s eliminate the phrase ‘going to work’. If we are clear about the items that we need to deliver on any given day, our perspective would better be about doing those things, rather than going to a place. The fact that I might be able to do those things more effectively if I am at a certain place is irrelevant … infact we might assume we could do them more effectively ‘at work’, but maybe we should rethink this.

So, I hereby announce that I am never going to go to work again – at least not in the sense that I will get up on a weekday morning and press play on a routine that has me dressing up and ‘going to work’ as if that in and of itself is of any value.

And there is another side to this musing … that I have learned from yurting. If turning up is replaced by delivering, then when I’ve delivered I can do something else. No, not even that is right … there are some things that I need to do to keep my soul and body energised. Planning the ‘pause points’ in my delivery routine and filling them with regenerative activity is the go, I reckon.

What is that supposed to mean? (I’ve just invented more consultant mumbo jumbo!!)


“Delivery routine” means the disciplined and focussed workday rhythm that says no to anything that will prevent me from delivering my strategic priorities. (assumes I know what they are!)

“Pause Points” means the breaks I plan in. This is absolutely necessary because most professional work can be all invasive and apparently never ending. There is always too much to do, so unless we plan breaks we will never stop.

“Regenerative” means life giving and sustainable. Just stopping work is not good enough. I need to fill the break with stuff that energises and refreshes. Different for everyone. Some people haven’t figured out what it is for them … they are in trouble.

Let’s never just turn up again.

2 thoughts on “never go to work again

  1. I was beaming from ear to ear as I read this. I’d like to say something profound/useful here but simply can’t think of anything suitable…so just want to say wow, and thanks for sharing. Very inspiring and relevant for this new world we (keep) finding ourselves in!

  2. Col, fantastic post and very timely for me to stumble upon (thanks Steve) as I’m considering what’s a good length of time to spend in Melbourne for my upcoming trip there and grappling with questions to make sure I continue to be productive on the stuff we are working on with Kinyei regardless of what country I find myself in.

    Helped me to work through some anxieties about not being ‘in the field’ for a period of time and am now feeling full of positivity and excitement about my time in wonderful Melbs. This kind of thinking will also be imperative for us when we try to enact our plans for a more regional presence and are required to contribute to activities based in a number of locations, both remotely and on the ground. Cheers! 🙂

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