Gravitation (or gravity) is one of my favorite words to describe the reality. In my opinion, we can find it in almost every activity performed by human beings. Before explaining exactly what I mean, let’s look at how Wikipedia describes this phenomenon:
Gravity (or gravitation) is a natural phenomenon by which all things attract one another including stars, planets, galaxies and even light and sub-atomic particles.
Getting a little more specific, here is the definition of gravity on Earth:
The gravity of Earth, which is denoted by g, refers to the acceleration that the Earth imparts to objects on or near its surface.
In common understanding, gravity is an effect influencing all objects on Earth, forcing us to use force to move any of them, including ourselves.
I like to extend the meaning of the word gravitation to not only physical objects. We can find out that within each activity performed by us there are natural tendencies in some directions. Whenever we are performing them, we need to overcome certain reluctance and unwillingness. We need to use force and force ourselves to do them. Instead of physical power we are using willpower. And as with physical power, it drains overtime and needs to be regenerated.
Let’s get through several activity examples to make the concept clear:
- learning for your exams or new technology – the gravitation is to watch TV, silly cats or go out with friends,
- updating documentation as you work on a task – the gravitation pushes you against it. The actual work is more interesting than updates needed to be done,
- following mundane and complicated guidelines or procedures – the gravitation is to skip them and do actual work, not getting swamped by the procedure,
- finish your current side project and start a new exciting one – the gravitation is automatically pushing you to a new project, abandoning the last one.
You know what I am talking about. There are several ways to proceed with your time, and gravitation is usually against the ones that bring the biggest value.
As you can see, gravitation is an important matter. Whatever you are doing, it is worth spending time on identifying what gravitation is and what direction it pushes you. By being aware of it you can more easily overcome it. You can take counter measures. By the way, procrastination can be considered as a close concept to the gravitation. Check here for a summary of 21 methods on how to deal with it. Most of them can also be used for fighting your activities gravity.
Fighting the gravitation is not the only thing which you should think about. Opposite to the Earth’s gravitation, if you know where the gravity of a particular activity is pushing you, you can try to decrease it or even change direction. The clue is that you must deeply understand what the gravity is of your activity and what is the reason behind it. Let’s get through several, more or less, simplified examples:
- mundane everyday work, not motivating you to perform it effectively – gravity can be changed by introducing challenges and competition elements. Doing it skilfully, for you or your team, will significantly change the whole approach,
- procedures which are not strictly followed, what causes harm to an organization – a gravity against them might be in the procedures itself. They might be complicated and not fully understood. Other reasons might be that they are not matching the reality. That forces people following them to constantly think about how to adjust workflow to somehow meet them. In such cases, procedures should be deeply investigated and adjusted. Introducing a process of regular procedures check and review might also help,
- inability to finish an already started side project – gravity is pushing you to a new exciting project and abandoning the old one. You can try to change it by introducing excitement to your current project. Imagine what outcome and gains you will have after completing it. Write down milestones that can be achieved. Try to change the scope to a more achievable one. Use your imagination to think what you can do to increase the coolness factor for you.
Identifying what exactly the gravitation is and what direction it is pushing you is a critical step in the process of overcoming it. Thanks to that you can use your imagination (use also the imagination of your coworkers and friends, you can brainstorm) to think how to change its direction to push you in a desired direction. Try it out! Check what activities you and your team have problems with and investigate the gravity!