Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Not Productive Enough

 One of the things that somewhat amazes me, now that I have some time off, is how difficult it is to actually turn myself down.  Largely, I blame work - or more specifically, post March 2020 (e.g., The Plague) and changed during that period.

One of the things we have discussed here before, and often is lamented out on the InterWeb, is the growth of the idea of "multi-tasking".  Study after study pretty much demonstrates that this as a practice does not actually accomplish things more quickly or better, yet it remains a sort of unspoken work code in the sense that even though it is not "expected", projects and work loads are set up in such a fashion that one cannot succeed except that one multi-task.

The Plague made it worse.

Suddenly, due to the fact that all meetings were virtual, another outlet for effort was available:  working during meetings.  Easy enough to do of course if you work somewhere where "cameras on" is not a requirement due to company policy or bandwidth (my issue).  E-mails zip out during meetings that individuals are "in".  One can usually tell if people are double-working as, when they are asked a question, the response more often than not is "I am sorry - what was the question?"  Meetings have now become another opportunity to "catch up" on things.

The difficulty, of course, is that this seeps over into the rest of one's life.

Focusing on one thing - or even worse, just "relaxing" - becomes a very uncomfortable feeling.  After all, I should be doing more things!  I should be accomplishing this rather long list of things I was supposed to be doing, because if I am not, I am not "being productive".

You may laugh.  But the sensation is very real.

I am working on changing this of course, both in the work life and real life. Work life is more difficult of course, as the work is still there and explaining how only so much can really get done is a bit, well, "difficult".  Personally it is a little easier (although I still seem to need a lot of convincing) that if I only do "some" things - and complete them - I am doing "enough.

When we have built a society and economic system that anticipates over-work as a minimum, it may be many things, but it is surely not a sustainable one.

14 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:30 AM

    Sounds to me like self inflicted guilt. That allowing yourself some time to relax, turn off the thoughts and just be still is to be avoided at all. I think we need this, let the mouse in the maze have a nap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it is largely self inflicted as well - even at the job. But I do think there is an leit motif that no-one would ever quite admit to that we could all be a little more productive.

      The way we do time off does not help much at all either - we have moved from chunks of time (a week, two weeks) to a day here or there. Why? In some cases, because we cannot take the "time" off of work.

      Delete
  2. Nylon124:51 AM

    Ah yes, multi-tasking, such as using the cellphone while driving even though doing the latter means 100% of your attention should be devoted to that since lives are at risk. Found out that retiring results in more time to practice "relaxing", feeling guilty went away quite quickly for me. Practice TB, practice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cell phone. So easy to engage in - and as you say, so dangerous (I am far more likely to die at the hands of a cell phone driver than almost anything else).

      I am working on practicing, Nylon12. Some days it is as simple as saying "I am okay just doing this", acknowledging nothing "useful" comes out of it.

      Delete
  3. Those conference calls remind me of this: https://youtu.be/zbJAJEtNUX0

    I never had much problem with the conference call if I was driving. Otherwise, I had to take notes to keep my attention on the call. I can't tell you how many times I did the "say again" line.

    I even took notes when I talked to my wife about things. Just a scatterbrain normally. And multitasking is just muti-failing in my case. If I'm not clued in and focused, the result isn't gonna work.

    I have tried to adopt the idea of "sabbath". A time to rest. And it's hard. I'm more of a "he that regardeth not the day" kind of guy. And there is a motor in my head that beats out, "why aren't you DOING something!???!!!" I think a balanced life is a dream...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is hilarious STxAR!

      I am not really a notes guy - which I should be more than I am. after 20 plus years, I am still trying to find a simple handwritten planning system that works for me.

      I am grappling with a "Sabbath" as well. Something I should put more effort into - like you, I have the "What are doing right now?" music in my head...

      Delete
  4. I understand. Even being fully retired (hubby as well as myself) since 2012, I still have trouble relaxing fully.

    When you feel you MUST be doing something, pet your rabbits or go to rabbit rescue. Both will help you get your "fix" and help you relax at the same time. :-)

    You all be safe and God bless. And a blessed Thanksgiving to you all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda, that is certainly something that I need to do more of: "doing something" can mean many things. It should not be confused with "doing something 'productive'", which has its own set of self-provided meanings.

      Thank you , and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well!

      Delete
  5. Stepfather was one who could not abide sitting or watching anyone sitting. He had STxAR's motor in his head. Our house was spotless from top to bottom. Had to wash all wall's twice a year and clean the wallpaper once a year. Every third year everything got painted. Exhausting but I find myself falling into that trap of feeling guilty with any down time. Have a Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family and your blog family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GL - I have to find the happy medium between "doing enough" and "doing too much". Like your step-father, down time often feels like "time I should be doing something else".

      Have a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!

      Delete
  6. Multi-tasking isn't even a matter of guilt for me. There's just that list of stuff that needs to get done, and if I don't do it, it doesn't get done. Working from home during the Kung Flu lockdowns didn't help. I was doing my job at home. I was also doing "home" work at home. After a while the line between "home" and "work" became so blurred I was never fully at work and never fully at home; VERY tiring. Now I'm back at work, and given the nature of my job, there are "dead zones" in the day where I find myself saying "If was working at home I could get this or that done right now." During the short winter days, I can't do those things when I get home, so they pile up for the weekend. I spend my whole weekend doing those things. One cannot win...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pete - The comment about working at home bleeding more and more into off work time is real. For me, the hour or so I used to commute became a default extra hour or so of work. And fitting it into short bursts in the evening.

      The shorter hours of Winter do not help at all. I have to remind myself that "things that need outside light" need to be done before the indoor things several times a week.

      Delete
  7. I guess I am lucky. In order to meet with me it usually requires someone to come out into one of my parking lots and fins me. I have a bad habit of forgetting my phone on my desk too. Seriously I forget...ya that's it. Multi-tasking for me usually means remembering the couple of dozens ends I got hanging around waiting for an opportunity to present itself or jumping on one that I did not know was already a problem. The air and sunshine are nice when it ain't raining though :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PP, misplacing the phone makes a difference. So does not putting work related apps on your phone, something I had to work with. I still keep on just because I need my work calendar, but work e-mail is off the phone. Makes it much harder to "fire up the computer" just to check in.

      Delete

Your comment will be posted after review. If you could take the time to be kind and not practice profanity, it would be appreciated. Thanks for posting!