Adding an Extra Degree of Effort Has an Impact

May 1, 2008
A single bit of focused extra energy each day — just 10 minutes of extra purposeful work — can make huge impacts when regularly applied.

Most of us know that an open pot of water sitting atop a constant heat source at 211°F basically sits there doing nothing. As long as the heat source is constant, replacing heat lost to enthalpy but not increasing in applied heat and effort, it will continue to sit there looking pretty. Once entropy equals the sum of its parts, the water is finally evaporated from the pot, but essentially nothing other than evaporation has been accomplished.

But when a single degree of extra heat is applied and the water's temperature rises to 212°F, we all know that it begins converting to steam. With the production of steam comes the ability to apply its force to actual work, such as driving mechanical components like old-fashioned steam engines. That single tiny bit of extra heat converts a lot of potential energy into actual energy that can be used to make very real differences downstream of its source. The same is true for us.

A single bit of focused extra energy each day — just 10 minutes of extra purposeful work — can make huge impacts when regularly applied.

An extra 10 minutes a day spent not watching television and taking the time to actually listen and talk to your spouse definitely will help if not outright save your marriage on occasion. Doing so lets them know how truly important they are to you in your life and your future together.

An extra 10 minutes a day spent doing the same with your children also is important. Helping with their homework, sitting down to play one of their favorite video games or just talking about what they want to talk about will make a difference and have a positive impact on their future.

Committing an extra 10 minutes a day doing what may seem like the smallest of tasks to help your community creates a ripple effect. The effect might not be felt immediately, but it definitely will be noticed in the long run. Some examples include actually taking the time to properly separate your recyclables for pickup by your local town, volunteering to serve on your homeowner's association or neighborhood watch program or even doing that most mundane task of citizenship — voting.

And spending an additional 10 uninterrupted minutes per day adding that one tiny degree of effort to improving your job skills not only helps your chances for job success but also your chances of success at life in general. You can do this by reading trade publications, studying new ideas and paradigms on how to better manage people and things or taking online computer skills classes to improve your overall job productivity.

I know that in this day and age we all have incredibly busy and stressful lives that often stretch our attention spans and fatigue points to the max. So it becomes a matter of priorities. Which is more important, the present that will be the past tomorrow or the future that will become the present's past in due form?

Yes, we only live in the present, but the moment in which we live is built upon the foundation of all that we've done and experienced in the past. To create a better tomorrow, we must focus and work just a little bit harder now so we can reap better rewards than the mere status quo that all too often is a siren's song of future failure later.

Take a week and spend 10 extra minutes per day on your family. Then, take an extra 10 minutes per day the following week to help your community. On the third week, bite the bullet and begin really making an effort to improve yourself and your job skills. By that fourth week, you won't have noticed any increased fatigue nor any decrease in your actual workday time. Soon the small stream of barely noticeable benefits will flow into rivers of major progress toward your life's goals and achievements. Try it. It will work. I promise!

Many thanks to an inspirational video I found on the Internet for, well, “inspiring” me to write this column. The video can be found at

Kent Craig is a second-generation mechanical contractor with unlimited Master's licenses in boilers, air conditioning, heating, and plumbing. You may contact him via email at [email protected].

About the Author

H. Kent Craig

Kent Craig is a second-generation mechanical contractor with unlimited Master’s licenses in boilers, air conditioning, heating and plumbing.

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