Working Hard at Work Worth Doing

The hours go on and I sit in my office, working away, waiting for inspiration, and scratching away at one of my numerous drafting pads. Desk drawers full of notebooks, shelves full of books, and file boxes full of papers line my office- hopeful reminders of my past and decidedly present inspirations. Black pens quiver in anticipation of something new and truly great. Papers clutter the wide, seasoned desk, remnants of former busy nights.

The morning comes early, dreary, and cool. Promptly, I rise and get moving, eager to start working once again. After a quick run and then prepping for the day, it’s an hour or so of emails and notes. I write and play piano and design all morning, and then it’s off to a couple of meetings before coming back to the office for more creativity, more work, and especially, more coffee.

Theodore Roosevelt once said “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

I’ve always loved that quote and felt that it describes my life and goals in many ways. When I reread that quote, which is hung above my desk, I am reminded of why I spend long hours doing research and working on numerous projects. I remember that I am working to make the world more beautiful, more elegant, more equitable, and more loving.

Often in the course of our professional lives, we are forced to work on unnecessary, rather uninspired, and unworthy tasks. It is at these moments that we realize how rewarding it is to work away at things that are truly worthy of our efforts. For, lest we turn into lonely, saturnine individuals, we must work every day to ensure that all of our energy is utilized in making the world a better place.

When I finally fall to sleep in the deepest hours of the night, I always try to look back on the day with gratitude, but also with austere, censorious meticulousness. Because the day I lose those compulsions toward detail- especially as it is corollary to the beneficialness of activities, is the day that my efforts and my work will no longer be worthwhile.

I pride myself on my constant pursuit of my better self, yet I am also forlorn when I look back upon the mistakes of my past. And so, it is with regret, but also motivation, that I go about my work, striving for greatness, but not getting lost without the most-important, larger picture. Work is only worth doing when it is done with the utmost passion and impressive scrupulousness. At no other time will work be worthwhile, no matter the honorability or meritoriousness of the work itself. It is what each of us instills in our daily duties that gives our lives meaning and gives relevance to the words of Theodore Roosevelt.

If nothing else, we owe it to ourselves to nurture our lives through thoughtfulness and hard work. One day, we too may look back and see that our endeavors were worthwhile. If nothing else, it’s something to strive for.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Manage Your Life

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So much of managing life is about being able not only to focus well, but also to know how long everything takes. As a business owner, musician, writer, and designer, I constantly have to manage my time, not only in what I’m doing, but also in the breaks I take, my personal life, and in what is not getting done. Scheduling becomes a nightmare when personal life, professional life, and entrepreneurship are all put together. But when one adds in more layers of logistics such as travel time and other people’s schedules, dealing with one’s calendar turns into hell on earth. It is so key in life to be able to organize logistics and scheduling well.

When my business officially opened in October of 2013, it was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. But it was also the start of a major time-suck for me, even if I love what I am doing the majority of the time. I am now constantly updating my calendar and am somewhat of a scheduling junky. I don’t attach myself my calendar because I like being attached to a life plan, although I do, but because I realized that if I want my dreams to come true and my life to stay on track, I have  to be incredibly organized with everything I do.  Both time management and organization have become second nature to me because it was and is necessary for them to be.

So many people in this world lack the basic skills of time management and organization, and it is clear to me that we would all be in a much better place in our lives if planning were much more prevalent. One begins to wonder why it is that the most important and relevant people in our society are sometimes the least together ones.

But experience shows us that the most organized people are the ones who get ahead in life. The CEOs and millionaires of this world are the people who schedule in their every waking minute and communicate the best with their peers and coworkers.

So what should one take away from this- when life gives you work, have fun with it; when life gives you more work, get organized; and when life falls apart, schedule in time to fix it!

Love, Ethan Brown Jones