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My three key insights about work (plus blurbs from Julie Zhuo and Dan Pink!)

Hi! Big news this week: I’m getting some fantastic responses to the translation of GRIP. And I’m hono

Work in Progress

October 12 · Issue #53 · View online
The newsletter about work

Big news this week: I’m getting some fantastic responses to the translation of GRIP. And I’m honored that both Julie Zhuo (former VP Design at Facebook and author of The Making of a Manager – which I can’t recommend enough) and Daniel Pink (author of a number of bestsellers, like the brilliant Drive) liked it so much they are willing to help me get the word out.
Here’s what Daniel had to say: “Rick Pastoor has offered a smart and useful primer for getting more and better work done. If you feel like a hostage of your to-do list, and struggle to find time for what matters most, this book will be a big help.
And here’s Julie: “If youve ever felt overwhelmed by your day, week or even year, GRIP is the book for you. Each page is packed with immediately actionable insights and smart frameworks to put you in the drivers seat of your life. From step-by-step examples of how to wrangle your calendar and reduce the amount of back-and-forth emails, to getting more out of your year and balancing internal and external expectations, this is a read Ill be coming back to and recommending often.
Know that I’m doing everything I can to get it out there as soon as possible. There’s a lot to do still, and I’ll keep you posted on my progress here. Thanks for following along!

On a Friday evening in The Before Times, when we still had gatherings and speaking gigs and that kind of thing, I organized an event in Amsterdam about the art of working smart. There, I shared three of my most basic insights about work.
I’d like to share them with you this week. From a safe distance.
Spend your time like it’s money
We give money lots of thought – from how much we earn to whether we can afford that new place to which phone is worth its price tag. Sometimes we spend too much and sometimes we stick to our budget. Sometimes we sleep on it before making major purchases. After all, you only get to spend that money once. 
So how weird is it that we often don’t think twice about the way we spend our time? The hours, weeks and months pass by, mostly without a well-thought-out plan. And there’s no getting time back once it’s gone.
Time to be more critical of how we spend our time
Don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t mean that everything you spend time on has to somehow be useful or pragmatic. I just mean that whether you’re spending time working, or enjoying your time off, we can all benefit from a little more sense of direction.
The art of working smart starts with better choices
It’s more and more apparent to me that almost everything I do on a given day has to do with choices.
Which emails do I craft careful replies to? Which invites do I accept and which ones do I turn down? Do I grab my phone to check Twitter again? But also bigger decisions, like what direction should we take the company in? What am I doing to get better at my job? What part can I play in fighting injustice? 
Big or small, they’re all choices.
We live in a time where just about any information you can think of is readily available. Today’s worker has it easy in that sense: You can gather the data you need in a heartbeat. The difficulty lies in figuring out what it means and then deciding what to do next. It wouldn’t surprise me if smart software soon makes inroads into helping us make sense of all that data. 
But you can make strides today – without the wonder-tools. 
My decisions got better and easier when I started doing two things: 
  1. First of all I got a clear sense of which choices are important for me and which are not.
  2. And then I started giving myself the time I needed to make the important ones.
That second point ☝️ is essential. Take your time
We often force ourselves to make choices, under pressure or anticipated pressure from our boss or coworkers. Claiming the space you need to truly weigh your options makes a world of difference. Just sleeping on it does wonders. And talking with an advisor with the right expertise or experience can clear up confusion for those complex choices. 
Think big, start small
That Friday evening in Amsterdam, someone said to me, It’s so hard to pin down what my mission and my dream is, exactly. I remember replying, Have you ever sat down for more than 5 minutes and really thought about it? Be honest. Turns out she hadn’t.
Only afterwards did I realize that my question might have sounded harsh, so let me rephrase: Giving yourself the time and space to think big is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. We’re so accustomed to thinking in practical terms, in limits and so-called realistic scenarios, that we have to practice thinking bigger. 
Thinking big can’t happen without starting small. First of all, starting small means actually starting, and that’s the only way to see your dreams take shape. More importantly, it gets you moving in the direction you think you want to go. So you can try it out and see if it’s right for you. 
High time to get moving!

Have a good week, 

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