People think being busy is a badge of honor hence many take great pride in telling others how they sacrifice everything at the altar of work – busy! Gadget and accessories which are tools and supposed to make life easier have taken over “busy” peoples’ lives to the point of controlling or dictating what, where, how and when to live a normal life.
What most people term busyness is nothing but outward high attachment to work. It consist of emails that are answered faster, phone calls that are made quickly, documents that are reviewed faster and meetings that are attended promptly. In short, having the feeling of always being on top of things. While all these are noble and commendable deeds, the question is “at what price”?
In order to answer this question, it is needful to have a deeper understanding of the nature of work.
While some work are closely intertwined with other people’s endeavours; one person’s output is another persons’ input; people are consumed by the need to be seen as “busy” to justify their output. But in reality, the quality of an output is not just a function of the time spent on a task. In most cases, busyness is a result of having to do the same thing twice or thrice because quality is sacrificed on the altar of on-time completion. Mistakes are made, the process is not taught through properly and cost effectiveness is compromised. Most busy people are busy because they are driven by the need to tick off all the items on their to-do-list at the end of the day rather than delivering a completed and qualitative output.
Then, there is the type of work that offers significant learning opportunities, aligns with career advancement and provides a deeply satisfying sense of accomplishment. This type of work inspire strategic decision-making that could move a company from having zero to millions in revenue. This category of work requires creative thinking and problem solving aptitude. Results are not necessarily proportional to effort, rather, most of the work are done in the thinking chamber and the physical outcome is a function of the intellectual exercise that preceded it. It is called nonlinear thinking.
Busy people often confuse being productive with being busy and being busy with projecting an image of competence. Usually, they loathe projects that put them in a nonlinear creative mode. They are usually so focused on short-term goals that they rarely slow down to let their brain work at a deeper level and think creatively in a nonlinear fashion. In the process, they shortchange themselves, their careers and companies.
In order to bridge the gap between these two scenarios, the following must be taking on board of our daily work routine or pattern.
- Recognise the two types of functions and classify work life according to the “get work done” pile and the “think strategically” pile. This will help in areas such as delegating, supervision and training.
- Block off at least two to three hours on a weekly basis that are completely free from distractions and interruptions. This will allow the brain to slow down, be immersed in solving the problem at hand and engender creativity. This will require a disciplined mind to stick to this type of a schedule for two to three months to realise deeply satisfying, reinforcing results.
- Take the time to brainstorm with trusted peers or an insightful manager on a weekly basis to stimulate different ways of thinking and allow for problems to be approached with fresh, creative perspectives. This is a great way to learn from others and strengthen work networks, which everyone needs, wants and likes.
- Randomly solicit for feedbacks from your daily contacts. This will help you to see what and how others are perceiving you and the impact that your new linear thinking is having not just on yourself but others.
- Share your new discovery with others and help them to take onboard this new way of working. It will raise the standard and quality of your company’s output and may even reduce other side effect such as fatigue, stress and staff turnover.
Thank you for reading, kindly share your thoughts on this post and let me know of other methods of being productive and effective.