When I first started working, there were really only two types of days: good days, and bad days.
But over time, those two categories spawned a whole new set of days. There were good days that were slow, and good days that were fast; good days where a dozen great things all seemed to happen at once; good days where it felt like months of work paid off on the same day.
But there were plenty more good days where nothing obviously good happened — where no big work seemed to get done, but that still definitely qualified as a good day.
Those are actually some of my favorite days, but they’re hard to recognize in the moment. They’re the days where you’re doing lots of work to set up another day. For me, that might mean working with someone on my team to brainstorm a big new idea, or building out the tech back-end for a project. It could even be a day where I’m working on spreadsheets or other monotonous work that just has to get done.
It’s that kind of work that frees you up to do the exciting stuff another day, like launching a project or hiring a new member of the team. Those are the days when you lay out the framework. The next day, or the day after that, you’ll start building something big on top of it.
So when I get to those exciting days down the road, I try to remind myself to make those yesterdays count. I’ll tell myself: You’ve already put in the hard work. Now make something awesome with all of it.
Great work is built on a whole lot of yesterdays. When a big work day arrives, take a moment to appreciate how many good days you’ve already put in to get to a day like this. And then go out and do the work to make those yesterdays count.
There’s probably a symbolic meaning to that photo, but I mostly picked it for this post because it looks cool. (Hey, not everything has to have a deeper meaning!) It’s by Thomas Brault for Unsplash.