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Don’t Let Your Life Get Stuck in Maintenance Mode

Photo by beeki

Photo by beeki

I work in an IT office where we talk about maintenance, service level and projects a lot. Like, all day sometimes.

Maintenance is the work you do on an ongoing basis. It doesn’t change much, it can be repetitive. It’s basically keeping the lights on and the email running.

Service level is how much you are giving your clients on a regular basis. If you keep systems running to do email that’s one service level. If you want to give them more, you increase your service level.

Projects are new things that can increase efficiency or increase your service level. They’re new things that change how you do things or what clients can do. Projects are planned, start, then end and are gone. They have a start date and an end date.This is a quick description of an IT office. But it’s a lot like your life.

You have maintenance that you do every day or every week to keep things going. You eat, work and do laundry. Some of these things are literally to keep the lights running in your house by paying your bills. Some of them more metaphorically keep the lights on by feeding you, clothing you, and entertaining you.

What you do each week is your service level. Those are the things that your maintenance affords you. If you want more, then you are going to get to a higher level of service. You’ll need more money, skills or people to get what you want. To get those things, you’ll need to start a project.

Projects change the service level in your life. If you want to eat better then you can do a 30 day challenge (a project) to eat paleo. After that project is complete your nutritional service level will be higher. You will be eating better.

If you want to get fit, then you might start a Couch to 5k program (a project). This will increase your fitness service level, you will have more energy and be stronger.

This service level are what you can do. It’s not for external clients or friends or family. It’s for yourself. You will feel better after taking on a 30 day project to eat better. You will have more energy if you take on a 30 day project to run 3 times a week. You will think more clearly if you finish a 30 day meditation project.

If you are stuck in maintenance for the rest of your life, things will get boring fast. People stuck in maintenance will have a mid-life crisis. They get to retirement and wonder where it all went.

Life isn’t meant to be stuck in maintenance the whole time. There are only so many days left.

Always be planning a project. They make life worth living.