Thursday, September 15, 2011

Are you Really More Productive?

I worked for a few years as a thermoformer operator in a plastics factory.

My job was to produce the maximum number of parts in a 12 hour shift while keeping quality within the spec guidelines.

I kept records of "recipes" that I used for setting oven temperatures, water cooler temperatures, cycle speeds and factored in external factors such as room temperature and other variables.

My creativity was used in a semi-scientific process with an end goal in mind. I was pretty good. i was promoted a few times. I was a mentor and teacher to others. But eventually I quit.

I wasn't passionate about plastic.

I returned to the marketing world where my creativity involved writing ads and advertising campaigns and all the other stuff that wasn't as easily measured. Formulas were more theoretical and less concrete.

Now I work in a combination of those worlds, with my position in sales as a Solutions Consultant for a website development company.

There is the creative marketing/sales side and the hard numbers analytics provides via the actual web technology.

DLM has some thoughts on the subject:

Is Your Passion for Productivity Hurting Your Career?

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 11:21 AM PDT

Confession: I’m a productivity junkie. I love the “more with less” mindset. There isn’t a time management technique I haven’t tried.

But, as a career coach, I’ve seen many cases in which passion for productivity has actually been a hindrance to career success

What do I mean? Well, being productive is obviously a good thing. We all need to get stuff done. But an over-emphasis on doing can sometimes cause performance problems in the professional world.

To help you understand what I mean and figure out if your passion for productivity is harming your career, take a look at the statements below. Do any ring true for you? If so, it may be time to focus on doing less—and thinking more.
  • You’re dividing your attention.
    Multitasking sounds great in theory but it doesn’t really work. When we attempt to split our attention between tasks, one—or both—will inevitably suffer.

    When we multitask at work, we end up making mistakes that ultimately have to be repaired. It’s a time suck and it’s also a poor representation of your capabilities. Multitasking can also be downright rude. People feel disrespected because you’re not giving them—or the work—its due attention.

    The real skill to hone in the workplace is concentration. Improve your ability to focus on the task at hand and then smoothly transition that concentration wholly to the next task. Avoid the temptations of multitasking and learn to engage fully in the moment.

  • You’re rushed.
    The “go, go, go” mantra of corporate America keeps most professionals in a permanent state of urgency. With an ever-growing to-do list, they feel compelled to constantly rush through their work and get to the next thing. In the process, careless errors happen. This mentality also contributes to huge amounts of stress, which can end up damaging your professional relationships and reputation even further.

    Never sacrifice accuracy and good work for speed. Moving quickly is not the sign of productivity. The faster you move, the more potential there is for trouble. Slowdown. Pace yourself. Be intentional in your actions.

  • You’re focusing on quantity over quality.
    All too often, productivity junkies get into a mindset of “more is better.” The more time you put in, the more successful you’ll be. The more you do, the more you’ll achieve. However, this isn’t always the case.

    Productivity is not about doing everything. It’s about doing the right things well. It’s
    not about working all the time; it’s about using your work time wisely.

    It’s far better to complete just a few important items on your checklist rather than tons of unimportant ones. It’s better to work really productively for a shorter period of time than semi-productively for a longer period of time. In the workplace, it’s always smart to focus on quality over quantity.

  • You’re doing too much.
    Productivity junkies like me are notorious for biting off more than we can chew. But systems and time management techniques won’t help you if you can’t help yourself. Say “no” once in a while. Set limits. Establish realistic expectations. Stop accepting more and more work just because you want to prove that you’re productive. We get it.

    I’ve seen it time and again: Taking on too much inevitably leads to anxiety, stress, missed deadlines, and mistakes. It’s a sure-fire way to perpetuate the negative productivity cycle. Break out of it. Use your passion for productivity in the workplace for good, not evil. Get it under control so it doesn’t accidentally drag your career down as it has for others.
Written on 8/24/2011 by Chrissy Scivicque. Chrissy is a career coach and the founder of She helps professionals develop strategies and take meaningful action toward achieving career goals. Pick up a copy of Chrissy’s FREE career workbook to find out just how nourishing your career really is and how you can make it even more so.Photo Credit: orcmid

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