Get To Work
Do you have trouble getting started at work? Is a project just not making you tingle with ideas?
Especially for those of us who work at home and no longer have suspicious eyes on us, evaluating, criticizing, determining what we get paid, getting started with work each day can be tough. There always seems to be something else to do.
And what about inspiration? When you work in an office or on a crew, inspiration determines only how much you enjoy and are fulfilled by your work. Inspired or not,
you will do your job, often as part of a team that depends on you.
I want to share with you a tool I’ve had for years that gets me in the groove every time: my Uncle Leslie.
Leslie, my Dad’s youngest brother, was a short man who seemed to be put together out of nothing but bones, muscle, sinew and wits. He had a sparkling eye and a sense of humor he never lost. And he had one thing I will never have – the vital need to work every day without sick breaks or weekends off.
My Uncle Leslie, as the youngest son, inherited my grandfather’s dairy farm (and my grandmother for the rest of her life) and never lived anywhere else for more than seventy years. He couldn’t.
On a dairy farm, there are chores that must be done every day. A blizzard choking the Pennsylvania hills is no excuse at 5:00 in the morning when thirty head of dairy cows needed to have their overnight build up of milk relieved.
Silently, even when my cousin Roger and I were in the barn with him, my uncle went methodically from cow to cow, cleaning udders and hooking up milking machines, time savers that weren’t available for his father.
There was always the danger of being kicked by a cow that wasn’t in the mood to be handled, and once, Uncle Leslie spent weeks with an patch after an errant tail scratched his eye.
Milking wasn’t the only early morning necessity. Hay and/or oats had to be laid out in front of the stanchions, so that the cows could chow down while he worked the milk runs. Filled containers had to be hauled to the shed where the fluid was poured through filters to await the big container trucks from the co-op.
After releasing his herd into a field for grazing when the weather was okay, Uncle Leslie returned to the farmhouse where he raised six children. Aunt Bertha would already be up and a big breakfast was be waiting.
The work day was underway and hours of chores lay ahead until, finally, as the cliche says, the cows came home. After five, all two to three dozen ambled down to the gate, waiting to be herded back to the barn for the second milking.
Note: Check out my new novel by clicking The Messes I Made While You Were Waiting for Godot
Countless times over the last decade, I invoked my inspiring figure, my Uncle Leslie, when I needed to get myself back in virtual harness.
Tired? Sick of the job? Upset with bosses and coworkers? Down with a cold or worse?
All these things are viable obstacles, and it’s easy to come up with more. But what I learned was that none of them are reasons not to go to work.
They may be discomforts, but that’s all. The work must get done, and nobody is going to do it for you.
My Uncle Leslie never got the twice yearly trips to Europe I got used to. His big break was a week long fishing trip he was able to take when he traded off with other farmers to cover for each other briefly after first cutting.
Not to sell short the family-oriented standards we have how, he never heard of paternity leave. Forget about taking one. And yet, he was a wonderful, respected parent whose children thrive as adults.
The world’s different now. It isn’t going back. But we can always pull some of it forward, the best parts, the commitment to work and getting the work we do right.
That’s inspiration for me, doing like my uncle did, supplying my block of the work that needs to be done daily. More than that, he gave me a clearer sense of life, things being in their place, in the right order of value.
Too tired to get the work done today? I don’t think so. Sleep is for forming dreams, not for making them come true.
David Stone, Writer