The Power of Combining Intentional Work and Continuous Learning

The Power of Combining Intentional Work and Continuous Learning
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Author's Note: While grinding through my usual work, I stumbled upon some new ways of seeing things. It kinda shook up my routine, but in a good way. This article is the result of that frame change. I've jotted down these fresh insights in hopes they might click with you too. Enjoy!


We often lose sight of what the right work is when we optimize for performance or outcomes. In our pursuit of what's best for building, we make other sacrifices.

This is part of the process, but is often lost in the shuffle of our daily work. ย With this article, I'm encouraging you to change your frame. I want you to step back and think less about what's great for you and more about what's best for the end user.

That's where the opportunity lives and where your energies, targeted appropriately, can create the most value.

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Setting the Pace for Excellence

Building meaningful work requires a well-thought-out approach:

  • Don't rush: Give yourself the time to immerse in the task.

Speed is the enemy of excellence.

  • Segment the process: Create first, review later. These are two distinct stages of the workflow.

Good work marinates and gets better over time.

  • Plan and execute: As the age-old saying goes, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

Separate the idea and implementation phases; both benefit from your undivided attention.

๐Ÿ”— Action Steps:

  • Set specific blocks of time for creation and review.
  • At the start of each week, create a step-by-step plan for what you aim to achieve (this week) based on your creation ideas (from last week).
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The Emotional Dimension of Design

A crucial element often overlooked is the emotional experience created for the end user.

While our aim might be to impart knowledge or drive outcomes, the question, "How will someone experience this?" is paramount.

As creators, we should yearn for our audience to not just learn, but to discover with enthusiasm.

Tying emotions like "joy" and "mojo" to the learning process deepens the impact of our work.

๐Ÿ”— Action Steps:

  • Step into the user's shoes when creating in order to consider their emotional experience.
  • Incorporate feedback loops to understand the feelings evoked by your work using comments or surveys.
  • Prioritize your work for user impact instead of "lower cost" or "easier to do."
Photo by Kelsy Gagnebin on Unsplash

The Value of a 'Comeback Resource'

Every so often, we come across resources that become our go-to guide - the ones we revisit time and time again, especially when we're embarking on something new.

Just as a dancer constantly refers to their steps until they're imprinted in muscle memory, a 'comeback resource' serves as a blueprint for our tasks.

A few who've mastered the art of crafting such resources include:

For a resource to be genuinely valuable, it needs two things:

  1. Detail, so people can continually learn from it.
  2. Timelessness, making it an instant classic.

๐Ÿ”— Action Steps:

  • When crafting a resource, ensure it's comprehensive.
  • Aim for timeless content, avoiding trends that might become obsolete.
  • Make something from the sawdust, as Jack Butcher advises.

The Underrated Power of Listening

The past few days have illuminated the transformative power of simply listening. When done genuinely, it creates a platform for others to share, fostering a deeper connection.

Preserving the feedback and reflections for future reference becomes paramount.

The art lies in separating the act of listening from the act of recording for future use.

๐Ÿ”— Action Steps:

  • Dedicate moments in your day exclusively for listening.
  • Maintain a feedback journal, noting down insights and reflections for future reference.
  • Use this journal to avoid capturing tasks and todo items.

๐Ÿ’ก Remember: We often stand in our own way. Recognizing and overcoming this can be the first step towards unparalleled excellence.

The Final Word

Personal excellence and productivity are not solely about checking off tasks on a list. They intertwine with intention, emotion, continuous learning, and the power of listening.

Embrace these elements, and watch the impact of your work grow alongside your own personal development.