How busy are you? Were you so busy today that you forgot to eat lunch? If you’re not running around like a headless chicken, do you feel bad about it? What about those meetings about meetings about meetings? Are you getting any actual work done or are you just pushing emails around?
The concept of productivity, and the conversation around it, has never been more relevant. Many of us are working from home, juggling family, and figuring out how to exist in a time where the line between work and our personal life is more blurred than ever. Throw in being drowned by available technology and drained by social media and that’s one hell of a cocktail.
The changed landscape means attitudes toward the way we work are slowly shifting – Twitter has told staff they can work from home ‘forever’ if they want to, and Google is letting workers expense up to $1,000 worth of office furniture to make working from home more comfortable.
While these moves may appear progressive, proceed with caution. If you are fully optimised to work from home, you may find it even harder to justify leaving your desk as the boundaries between work and home become even less clear. And you're in danger of being busier than ever.
However, busy doesn't necessarily mean productive. 'As a society we place huge value on physical output and “being busy” and tend to internalise those two as fundamental aspects of our identity,' says Ruth Eve, business strategist and sustainability and mindfulness expert.
'The risk is we place too much value on external benchmarks rather than looking inward, assessing whether we’ve behaved in line with our values, feel fulfilled and are ultimately happy. This culture surrounding productivity can also mean that any lapses in productivity can trigger shame, which is something I think was highlighted during lockdown.'
With this in mind, here are some tips to be more productive: