If you're trying to achieve your productivity goals, I have some bad news. Productivity won't help. This is not efficiency.
A month ago, I asked my friend Taurus, who knows a little about medicine, what time of day is most productive for a typical person. What time should I go to bed and try to get up so that I can do as much work as possible during the day and prepare for exams.
I also remember how a year ago, last September, I crammed as much activity as possible into each day and was openly proud of it. university, officer courses, volunteering projects, cartography, two additional jobs and more traveling with my girlfriend at the time.
I'm not even sure why I felt so cool then. After all, really, who cares how much work you can cram into your day?
So, it turns out to be more important not who will work more, but who will do the work better and more usefully. However, handmade products are valued not because there are many of them.
Product or effect? What makes it different?
You don't even need to open some big, dusty dictionary - the clues are in the roots of the words:
- Productivity is a product.
- Efficiency - effect.
Do you notice? When the former is directed at how to create as much product as possible, which you don't know where to put, the second is how to create something that would have an effect, an effect.
"It's not enough to just be busy.
It's more important to know why you're busy with it."
Henry David Thoreau, 19th century philosopher
Thinking about this, I began to examine my methods of thinking…
First observation: Attempts to create more product are blinding.
It wasn't until a month ago that I noticed that I spend more time looking for new magic ways to increase productivity than I do using them.
Do you have this problem too? Maybe you even found these letters?
And I can't say that it has helped me a lot in creating better content for this blog. Worse, it didn't even boost productivity as much as the ads promised.
It's easy to find ways to create more product. And it's very easy along the way to forget why you're working at all. Why are you doing this? Will more really be better? There is nothing more counterproductive than trying to find a way to do something that shouldn't be done at all.
Second observation: Productivity only provides a product.
I can't think of a situation where simply getting the product would be the primary goal. If you come up with it - write it in the comments. You can surprise me.
Everything you do is aimed not at the product, but at the effect. The effect. Yes, even if you work in a factory and you are paid for how many fish you can skin in one minute, you are still not working for the product. You work for exposure - for pay, for money. 2 And if you like the work, then maybe the effect is simply pleasure.
Even if the magnitude of the effect depends on your productivity, you don't have to produce the same product. Fuck the fish in a Norwegian factory if you can make as much or more in a more pleasant, simpler activity.
Remember the fairy tale about the king who turned everything into gold when he touched it? 3 He forgot, he forgot, that you will not live on gold alone. Even if gold is in the form of bread.
You don't want to be fast. You just want to be full and happy. Do you notice this?
So how to achieve efficiency?
I'll let you in on a secret: unfortunately, I still haven't learned how to be as efficient as possible. At least the one I dream about. But after my failed attempts at productivity, I moved on to trying to make a bigger impact. And it's helped me achieve more than I ever did when I was "productive".
If you also want such positive changes, it is not difficult:
1) Have fewer goals.
Your attention, energy and time are limited resources.
- Give your best wishes, the best of your best work, the most of your resources. Raise yourself like a pet. Don't pay attention to what hurts and is bad.
- And if you have a lot of unfinished business - use the river philosophy.
2) Take your time. And don't do the job twice.
What is happening here, that in the times of greatest arrogance 4 do you have to talk people into going to rest? Absurd!
Take your time - there is nowhere to go. You'd better go and take a nap.
- It's healthy for your body because you don't overwork your muscles;
- It's healthy for your mind because you don't overwork your brain;
- This is good for your relationship because you can make time for them;
- And the most important thing: you will know better what you really want when you know it.
Lazy people do not do what is not necessary, lazy people only do what gives the greatest beneficial effect. After all, if they were doing something that wasn't necessary, they wouldn't be lazy, right? 5
I even published a book on the benefits of Conscious Laziness. Laziness helps you see what's really important to you.
Do less, less than you used to do and efficiency will come. If you feel that you are not doing what you are doing efficiently enough, you will definitely find a way to do it better.
The most important thing is not to be productive just for the sake of being productive. The pyramids were not built in one day, they have been standing for several thousand years. 6
Fast people are fast. But only effect-oriented people make things that last. I wish you to focus as well. I'm trying too - together with you.
And you don't earn money because of them - because your children have something to wear or you can buy coffee in your favorite cafe.↩
As one old lady I met in Kaunas Laisvės Alley told me.↩
Slunkius, the hero of K. Donelaitis' "Metu" is therefore one of the most positive heroes of this story. He enjoys life instead of bending his back, "Because the bread is crying"... What other bread is crying that we no longer need to carry buckets of water to the shower, and you can easily find knowledge on the Internet!? If anyone cries, it's only fools who care about hard work without even knowing why.↩
In fact, the pyramids were as old to Caesar, Cleopatra, Jesus, and other dudes back then as these dudes are to us. Pyramids have been standing for a very, very long time.↩