No, I'm not addressing here that dual, schizophrenic, Peter Parker/Spiderman kind of life that most of worthwhile people who want to bring their "dear thing" to this world are usually forced to live, feeding the ruthless machine by day and doing the actual, memorable work by night. That's a matter for another post. What I mean by "two works" today is the way in which followers of the Lean methodology frame their work.
I heard such expression in an interview with the Lean consultant Jess Orr, who used to work for Toyota -the company that is the gold standard for Lean; and by the way, could we please have soon a Toyota in healthcare, in supermarkets, a computer seller, a political party, a... etc? :) -.
The two works are:
1) "Making the numbers". Units produced. Outcome. Weekly production plan.
2) Work the system. Work your processes. Improve the way you do things.
In this mental model, 1 and 2 are strongly interconnected. A supervisor will scold you if you make the numbers without being able to explain your process (you just "got lucky", and luck is not sustainable). Making the numbers, in a Lean context implies: you're serving that guy who expects to receive the value at the end of the line (He's called the customer, and Lean always keeps a steady eye on him; in contrast, non-Lean companies usually have attention to customer as an item somewhere inside a Top 3,500 priorities list, when not as wallpaper decoration turning yellow at some room). It also means generating the money that assures the survival of our company, so that we can keep improving and giving service to society. (Yes, you heard it right. Real Lean companies have an interest, that goes beyond slogans and spare change, to serve and improve the society they belong to. I know, shocking...)
Obviously, if before you only had 1) and now you have 1) and 2), you have just created a balancing act. I for one, know that I have a certain weak spot in being too focused on 2), perhaps as a sequel of the many previous years working without a method, just the usual chaos and workarounds that most people accept as "normal", "comes with the territory", etc. Music creation, being at its core a very solitary and introverted activity, makes things even worse (you can dive into a song and emerge somehow three hours later - picture the confusion)...
Time and energy are limited, Peter Parker expects his share, and there are opportunity costs at every corner of the way. Under such conditions, full balance is kinda impossible, and embarrassing moments will be plenty... But hey, progress over perfection. Every step you take is going to be a learning step, once you have a "map" of the game. In a recent article, John Shook uses the simile, for a different matter but applicable here too, of a teeter-totter. I like that analogy because what makes a teeter-totter fun is the continuous ups and downs. Full stability would be boring, and we don't want that, do we? :)
I have a guitar and I'm gonna use it