The Traits of CEO
Bud Caddell

Being Work? Going to Work? It’s all in the flow…

This is being written in first draft style because I am riding a big wave of thought inspired by a post by Bud Caddell.

This thought is all about self-organization. And organization organization.

Today, I am being work…as a freelance editor and writer. Each of my days look like a different flow chart…sort of like the statistics generated by the Sleep Cycle app. It’s my personal Wave Theory of productivity. It accounts for constant change and surprise. It makes me happy to get out of bed each morning…and even happier to get in bed each night.

But yesterday (the early 1980s), I went to work…as a labor law paralegal. Back then, my days looked like the listings in the TV Guide. It was the Particle Theory of productivity. Each. Moment. Was. Accounted. For. And. To. And. By. And. Listed. And. Billed. And Charged. And. Collected.

The early years of my career experience were in the era when most people went off to a place where work happened — thanks to someone else whose vision built the structure and coordinated the resources. Entrepreneurs were rare in my middle class neighborhood, and mom-and-pop businesses were just that…they were the nice couple who lived next door, ran a pool hall and managed a few rental units. They covered a lot of logistics in order to have long weekend vacations once a year to a hotel 100 miles away from home. Pop did his business accounting on his kitchen table — along with the bread and butter Mrs. Pop shopped for after work and served at least two times a day.

Mr. and Mrs. Pop are dead, and it’s a good thing. They would not have liked the Internet and might have seriously questioned the need for a laptop.

Now, with memories of this couple, I spend my time earning money while wearing pajamas in my kitchen office. I’m as productive as possible between running errands, doing chores, having a bit of social time, sleeping and meeting deadlines. The only entity to whom I answer is Mr. Coffee.

This works because I learned self-organization early in life. In an algebra class.

My first exposure to organization via computers was in 1973, during high school. Thank you, Mr. Kempton, my algebra teacher! One assignment he gave the class was to create flow charts, then color in the squares on a stack of computer cards that he arranged to be “run through” a huge, room-sized computer at some company downtown. If the cards “ran” and matched the flow chart, the student earned an A.

I got an A on that assignment. It was the only A I ever earned on any assignment ever offered in any math class I ever took.

The idea of that flow chart seems more relevant than ever right now. What if every human being adopted the idea of the Personal Flow Chart? What if we got up every day and programmed our attitudes and our functions?

For today, here’s my flow chart for self-organization:

Wake up > Open brain > Have a few thoughts about this new set of hours when there is natural light > Make coffee > Drink coffee > Eat protein and fruit, eschew carbohydrate if possible > Make a list > Do first thing on list which is usually ‘morning chores’ such as brush teeth, decide on shower or pajamas, start or finish laundry, take out trash… > Settle into about an hour’s worth of Internet reading (including perusal of NYT headlines, a few business blogs, newsletters regarding writing/editing) > Begin first writing/editing project and go for a couple of hours up until lunch > Lunch! Be happy around lunch! I love lunch! It is the biggest and best meal of the day! > Settle back down to write/edit > Take a break and look around at all else going on in life. Ask a few questions, such as “Why are there so many quail in the yard right now?” > Edit. > Write. > Go out for a walk or a bike ride. > Run an errand, such as a trip to the Post Office > Edit. > Write. > Read end of day emails > Respond to end of day emails (mostly hit ‘delete’) > Think about my family and friends and wish them well > Dinner…or a light snack…and some form of hydration in which happiness is also an ingredient >Edit. > Write. > Drink a shot of cherry juice (it is supposed to ensure great dreams) > Engage bedtime routine (too personal to list in this public forum, but trust me, I look forward to it all day long) > Write in my two journals > Read > Turn out the lamp > Enter the Sleep Stages > Have dreams…or not.

Wake up. Feel organized. Allow for change and surprise no matter where I find myself…being at a work-like place or being work itself.

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