The Secret to Broccoli, Work and Maybe Life


I make the best broccoli. I know this because I have converted people that have hated broccoli for decades of their lives to be true LOVERS of broccoli, people that dislike ALL vegetables go wild for my broccoli, small children who I have taught to call it trees also adore this broccoli.

I was explaining how to make the best broccoli on earth the other day and it turns out I think the directions are pretty much aligned to work and maybe even life. Yeah. I was surprised too.

Step one: Start with clean broccoli. The act of cleaning your desk can help almost any stuck moment professionally. Start there. You’ll find things you need to do next and that’s okay, keep cleaning. You don’t want to eat a bug and you don’t want to leave an important post-it in the pile of papers buried deep on your desk.

Step two: Cut it into bite-sized pieces. How’s your attention span these days? Be honest with yourself here, we’re all finding the juggle to be a bit of a struggle, identify how long you can hold your attention (20 minutes is a good place to start) and then cut the work down into 20-minute bites.

Step three: Season appropriately with salt. As you’re starting to do the work think about what YOU add to the work. What makes you uniquely suited to do that task, how could you do the next thing on your list in a way that puts your thumbprints on it?

Step four: Don’t crowd the pan. This is the critical step in broccoli and in doing the work. We think we can do more than we can. Look at the day ahead, look at your bite-sized pieces and determine what’s truly reasonable for you to do. Crowding the pan makes everything a little mushed and gross.

Step five: Give it enough heat. For my broccoli to roast up and get that nutty crunchy salty florets that make it stand out it needs 450 degrees. The energy and focus that some tasks need requires you to turn up the heat. This post wouldn’t get written if I was doing it from the playground with my kids or if I was listening to music becuase you’d totaly get a one-off lyric in the middle of it.

Step six: Give it enough time. How long does it take? As long as it takes. Sometimes it’s 18 minutes sometimes it’s 30 minutes. You just can’t know and you know what? That’s okay! As long as you like where you’re going than it takes however long it takes. There’s no rushing it.

Step six: Enjoy it. Celebrate the wins. Frequently at work we bypass the celebration, the eating of the broccoli because we’re already trying to make the next batch! Enjoy it. Get specific about what makes it fantastic. Share the victory, completion, moment with someone else – somehow that always makes things more delcious!