False Vanity: How Permanent Employment Decreases Productivity
In this article, Jeff Archibald will tell you how to ask yourself three simple questions every week to get rid of the fuss .
Being busy is easy - it's hard to be productive . Raise your hand if you reply all day to one “urgent” letter after another; spend hours in your task manager rearranging things in an attempt to increase returns; half a day doing the tidying up of old files or looking back at the past week, you understand that, despite all the efforts, you can’t say with confidence any completed tasks.
Bad news for those who recognize themselves: you are a victim of false fuss.
I used to be one too. Everyone at a certain moment falls into the trap of meaningless deeds. This happens unintentionally - in the end, a lot of work needs to be done in a day - but deceptive vanity can destroy business goals and, above all, our motivation. This is what I mean by false effort, and how to avoid it.
What is false vanity?
The term "false vanity" appeared in baseball. When a player makes a dash from the dagout to the far side of the field, and then abruptly changes direction towards a rolling or flying ball, he makes no sense fussing. Essentially, he spends energy and does a great job, but in the wrong place. Not where you need it. Here is my modified definition of false fuss - it is a waste of energy on tasks whose fulfillment does not at all contribute to the advancement to goals.
You cannot know what is false vanity and what is not if you are not aware of your tasks — for a year, a quarter, a month, or even a week. We spend many hours a week to achieve our goals, so we need to optimally use this time. Both you and I know that this watch flies quickly regardless of whether you administer a design agency, work as a web interface developer, or occupy any other position. Therefore, when we aimlessly rush around - that is, give in to false vanity - we make the loss of goals from the field of view more likely. And when we miss them, our motivation goes down. Suffice it to say that life brings more joy when something inspires us.
Evading False Fuss and Moving Forward
If we analyze the large goals, we will see that they consist of strategies and tactics. At the end of the week, if you worked productively and were not busy with time-consuming and unproductive tasks, you should turn around for completed tasks and attribute them to tactics or strategies towards achieving the goal .
How can you accurately determine whether you are moving in the right direction? All I do is ask myself some simple questions at 4 p.m. on Friday.
- What have I achieved this week?
- Am I moving towards the goals of the month / quarter? How?
- What can I do in this direction next week?
Then I set aside the next 7 days. Literally, this means that I look at Google Calendar and “book” time periods (for example, from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday) for specific tasks related to general tactics and strategy, and, above all, to achieve the goals of the next week. For me, this is an easy way to successfully keep moving forward.
How should I spend my time?
This applies not only to company owners and freelancers. In general, the idea of avoiding false fuss works better if used by all employees of the company. Each large office has a big goal, an ideology that motivates the whole team to work.
This applies to developers who have set themselves the task of learning something new - to try a different solution for the next effective CMS site. This method is also suitable for designers who use downtime to acquire new skills or create something for free distribution that can benefit society and enhance the prestige of the store. He will be useful to any member of the team who considers himself entitled to ask a question to the general director / manager / other manager if he thinks he is being asked to do work that does not advance the matter.
In the end, each of us will find useful questions about how to spend time to follow a great, wonderful, inspiring concept. And then act on the responses received.
All this does not mean that you should not do such a dirty job as composing answers to emails or cleaning a coffee machine. It must also be fulfilled, and perhaps it helps us tremendously to achieve our goals. But it’s too easy to deceive yourself by equating employment and productivity.
PS We recommend another article on the topic - Productivity Physics: the application of Newton's laws in work .
Translation by Vyacheslav Davidenko, founder of MBA Consult