The work place is made up of two kinds of people, pluggers and plungers.
Pluggers plug away at their jobs day after day, year after year, because they enjoy it. Plungers get bored after the third day and, you guessed it, plunge into something new.
Scientists are pluggers. I remember standing in a lab with a research scientist. He held a long glass tube in one hand and was pouring one liquid atop another. I asked him what he was working on. "Cancer", he said. I asked him how long he'd been at it. "Seven years", was his reply. I shouted the same, phrased as an incredulous question and asked how much longer he thought he'd be at it. He replied, "Oh, I think I should have something in another five or six years".
Pluggers can do that. And you might very well be a plugger. But today I want to discuss plungers. Plungers are the people who start things, get them going, get bored and then plunge into something else. Plungers can't work on one task or project for seven years. Seven weeks? Maybe. Seven days? Perhaps. Seven hours might even be a stretch. Plungers lack the "stick-to-it" ideal.
You know you're a plunger if you can't stand to check a stack of computer printouts, or dig through a lot of data sent via e-mail or on the web. Or if your exercise program lasts all of two weeks. If you have grand dreams and schemes which never seem to materialize, you're probably a plunger.
You might be shocked when I admit I'm a plunger. I've been trying to publish the "Great American Novel" on business and leadership for going on more than twenty years. I write fifteen chapters, then plunge into a new book idea. There are eight unfinished masterpieces on my computer even now.
Plungers really WANT to do something. But they can't seem to do it. Oh, they've started. And stopped. And started all over again. Numerous times. But, they never quite finish. They plunge into something else.
In my line of work, I observe a lot of plungers and pluggers. And these are a few things I think plungers might be able to learn from their more "stick-to-it" coworkers.
- Buy a calendar or journal with empty pages and make a to-do list every morning. If something doesn't get accomplished, or finished, it gets listed again the following day.
- Set definite times during the day for your project. Plan to exercise? Set a time, and don't alter that time, no matter what. Treat it like you would treat a scheduled meeting with your boss.
- Finally, tell a friend or family member. Plungers need friends and loved ones to remind them. I tell my wife about all my great ideas, and you better believe she reminds me about each and every one!