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Busy does not equal productive

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Busy does not equal productive

Post by Manu on Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:53 am

It’s no secret that we sometimes slack off more than we should.

“Time to get busy!”, we say.

But every once in a while, I hear someone stand tall and proud, gloating about how busy he is.

I mean, sure… busy is better than not busy.

But busy does not equal productive.

You are busy when you have your time occupied.

You are productive when your efforts translate into results.

How often have you heard someone complain they want to do something new (workout, take up a class, write, paint, etc.) but they just don’t have the time?

We all have the same 1440 minutes a day. Why do some people manage to get things done and others don’t?
 

Covey’s Important vs. Urgent Matrix


In the book 7 habits of highly effective people, Stephen Covey proposes that activities can be broken down into two variables: urgency and importance.

Activities are urgent if they compel a person to act immediately. They are not urgent if they can be postponed. A phone ringing is urgent, because if we do not answer it, we miss the call. So is a fire, because ignoring it might lead it to spreading out and burning down the house.

Activities are important if they are meaningful to a person or have a long-lasting impact on their lives. For example, completing a deadline at work might be important if we want to keep our jobs. Spending time with our family might also be important to us because we care about our relationship with them.

These two variables intersect, forming 4 distinct boxes (or quadrants) into which activities fall into:


The first quadrant includes activities which are both urgent and important. A fire breaking out, facing foreclosure, an imminent threat to our well-being, a deadline at work, all fall into this category.

The second quadrant includes activities which are not urgent but are important. Visiting a relative you haven’t seen in a while or exercising are examples of this quadrant. The activities here are meaningful to us, but we have nothing compelling us to act right away.

The third quadrant includes activities which are urgent but are not important. Some phone calls, some emails, and other activities which are time-defined, but are not deeply meaningful to us fit this category.

The fourth quadrant includes activities which are neither urgent nor important. Most leisurely activities fit this category.
 

Effective time management

Just to clarify, there are no evil quadrants. You are free to enjoy any activities that you like. Just make sure that you are conscious about where your time is going, because you never get it back.

You might have noticed by now that the first and third quadrants are reactive. Urgent matters make us react, they more or less trap us into dealing with them. Just make sure that the matters you are reacting to are the ones that truly matter, the ones that belong in the first quadrant (i.e., are important). Some phone calls can go unanswered, some texts can be dealt with later. Sometimes, the world will go on without your intervention.

The second quadrant is the most interesting. It includes all the activities we hold dear, yet we are not pressed by time to pursue them. Yet all improvement occurs in this quadrant. Want that better body? Working out is second quadrant material. Want to start a business? No one is going to push you to do it (you know, unless you are starving, unemployed, and starting a business is your only option). This quadrant requires us becoming proactive.

Thus, the next time you find yourself saying “I’m too busy”, take a good look, and make sure your busy is not just reactionary.

Netflix can wait.

That group chat can wait.

That second quadrant is waiting for you. All your goals and dreams are there.

Don’t keep them waiting.

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by VixensVengeance on Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:02 pm

Interesting post. However I find this system a bit lacking because it is too general and that makes it ultimately useless. How do you decide what "some" is for example. 

Instead I use that same 4 box quadrant but first I ientify specific things in my life that I do or am interested in. Instead of popular activity I put in hiking. Then I can categorize appropriately. 

Then I label the boxes as focused on and not focused on across the top and passion and hobby across the side.

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by Manu on Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:52 am

VixensVengeance wrote:Interesting post. However I find this system a bit lacking because it is too general and that makes it ultimately useless. How do you decide what "some" is for example. 

Instead I use that same 4 box quadrant but first I ientify specific things in my life that I do or am interested in. Instead of popular activity I put in hiking. Then I can categorize appropriately. 

Then I label the boxes as focused on and not focused on across the top and passion and hobby across the side.

It's a good observation, VV.

To be fair, Covey discusses these quadrants as the second of the seven habits in his book. The first habit involves exactly what you describe, establishing priorities. Covey includes an interesting visualization exercise in which you envision your own funeral and imagine the things you would want people to say about you in the eulogy, to glean from that the things you truly value.

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by Manu on Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:06 pm

Dragonmaster wrote:Time management is a man made concept. The truth is we do not manage time as it passes regardless of what we do or do not do. What is important or unimportant is also a man made concept. We are born, we live a life and then we die.

What is far more important than time management is the way we live our lives. We are judged in the end by what we have done and what we have failed to do. In the long run unless your someone really important and your name ends up in the history books because of what you accomplished you will be forgotten within a generation or so and your grave marker will sit their marking your resting place. No one will care for it or look after it as it marks your grave and no one will know who you are, let alone read your grave marker.

Enjoy life while you can. You are here for a short time and life passes all to quickly.

Cue Dust in the Wind  Smile

You speak of being judged by our actions. Aren't judgements man made concepts?

I certainly agree with your last paragraph. How do YOU enjoy life?

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by Manu on Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:24 am

Ah, so by your explanation, and framing it by my original post, would you say that you have managed to remain not busy, but productive?

It seems you've learned to ditch unimportant tasks, and have been left with a shitload of time for the ones that are personally significant to you (tip o' the hat to ya).

How did you manage to stay to dettached before retiring?

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by VixensVengeance on Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:11 pm

Dragonmaster, all that just translates as you being an irresponsible, lazy ass. That' all it is. You refuse to take responsibility for yourself or anything in your life. Your fear of failure drives your existence. Pretty sad really. I have worked with and managed others with your work ethic before. You are despised by peers and fired by managers. Retirement? I doubt it.

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by VixensVengeance on Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:58 pm

Uh huh. Subjective perception. Id say you got farmed out to get you out of others hair. Must have been a govt or union job if you were actually there that long. Im sure they were glad to see you go.

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by Manu on Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:22 pm

VixensVengeance wrote:I find this system a bit lacking because it is too general and that makes it ultimately useless. How do you decide what "some" is for example. 

Instead I use that same 4 box quadrant but first I ientify specific things in my life that I do or am interested in. Instead of popular activity I put in hiking. Then I can categorize appropriately. 

and


Dragonmaster wrote:The words busy and productive are not defined or quantified as everyone has their own idea what they mean and how to measure them. I am not busy in the way I was when I was working, nor am I productive in the same way. Their are days when I am much busier than I was when I was working and far more productive. Also their are other days when I am not as busy as I was when I was working and far less productive. The nice thing is it is my choice how busy and productive I am. 

Both of these are hinting at habit 1 of Covey's 7, and it has to do with defining first what exactly we value. I use "productive" in the context of "conducive to my goals". Which means that if you, Dragonmaster, value disposing of bullshit things that add no value to you, to focus on what really matter, you are in fact being productive by doing "less" (less as defined by usual business standards, where productivity involves milking employees raw until they produce no more and get discarded).

As a matter of fact, I've seen good leaders at work do exactly that: they refuse to go with the flow, and do more of something which adds value, and less (or none, if possible) of what does not.

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by Micheal on Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:57 pm

DM, while you are here, you might as well get used to pre-supposing questions.

You yourself pointed out the flaw in your logic, if Manu does not know every detail about you to make such opinions... is it his fault he does not or yours?

Probing questions are common here because we do want to get to know who we are working with as well as try to figure eachother out so as to be of assistance to one another.  Of course, approaches will differ... such is life when dealing with others.

And where I will congratulate you on retiring, remember we only have your word that this is fact and barely know you from Adam.

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by VixensVengeance on Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:43 pm

Yes manu but what is it adding value to, self or something outside self that returns value to self?

No i did not once again fall I to David's trap of moral judgement. I see the distintion between self serving and selfless serving in this case. Both can be admired for what they are. 

So my question to you, as a new dark knight, is which do you see as truly darkside mentality? DMs completely selfish approach to his professional life in which only his needs are served at the expense of his employer and the company goals or a life in which the empoyee gives unconditionally to his employer, who has paid for his time, and excels in his job so that the return may be esteem, promotion, bonuses, power etc to the employee?

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by Manu on Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:25 pm

VixensVengeance wrote:So my question to you, as a new dark knight, is which do you see as truly darkside mentality? DMs completely selfish approach to his professional life in which only his needs are served at the expense of his employer and the company goals or a life in which the empoyee gives unconditionally to his employer, who has paid for his time, and excels in his job so that the return may be esteem, promotion, bonuses, power etc to the employee?

"Darkness is about the individual", or so the quote says.

So I cannot answer that question for DM, or for you, only for myself.

I see work as a means to an end. Sure, it still is fun, but I'm there to get something. The question then becomes, which is the best avenue to get what I want?

In this dichotomy you place forth, you imply that all requirements companies make of their employees add value to the company. This just isn't true. Especially in larger companies, the level of micro-managing, bureocracy and useless processess and meetings that get tossed into the work day oftentimes can hinder actual productivity.

(On a side note, I do live in a third world country, so it just might be super shitty over here)  Laughing

An employee is usually measured by KPIs, and though attitude does wonders for the trust they place on you (on which promotions rely), if you can successfully show how your avoidance of certain tasks is with the interest of the company in mind, and show results (improved KPIs) at the same time, you are gold.

Likewise, it is entirely possible to devote 14 hours a day at work and get nowhere because you are stuck with meaningless tasks.

Business is dynamic by nature, and depending on work-culture, are more or less fluid on how open they are to negotiating change - as long as results improve. Telecommuting and empowerment are two examples of trends that tap into this.

So to answer your question... my mentality would be to identify how I can take cluttered, inefficient processess and show my bossess how slashing those would ultimately benefit the company. Thus I simultaneously meet my needs for more time for myself, and for esteem and a more advantegous relationship with the people I've created value for. That is what business is: you do your own thing so well, everyone gravitates towards you and tossess you flowers and money.

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by VixensVengeance on Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:22 pm

Grabbing naps in the back of the donut factory you obviously worked in is not something I would consider as taking on a great deal of responsibility DM. In fact by your response you certainly dont display a level of intelligence equivalent to whats needed for the job you describe. I suspect your an out of work 30 something that is making up stories, nothing more. 


Manu, yes I understand that my example is extreme but I was not really looking for real world examples in that regard. I was curious as to how you saw the dark aspect in respect to that scenario. What would you do? Follow DMs lead and treat your job as he did or would you respect the position and treat it as time your employer owns because they are paying you to do whatever they want done no matter whether you perceive it as productive or not and do the best job you can even to the point of exceeding expectations and going above and beyond? Is dark side excellence in serving self or excellence in doing the better job than everyone else no matter what it is?

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by Manu on Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:41 am

VixensVengeance wrote:What would you do? Follow DMs lead and treat your job as he did or would you respect the position and treat it as time your employer owns because they are paying you to do whatever they want done no matter whether you perceive it as productive or not and do the best job you can even to the point of exceeding expectations and going above and beyond? Is dark side excellence in serving self or excellence in doing the better job than everyone else no matter what it is?

False dichotomy.

Both serve self.

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by Micheal on Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:39 am

Sang to the music of Bohemian Rapsody

Is this the Sith life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in the Darkside
No escaping the galaxy.

(A meme I read on Facebook last night, thought I would share.)

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by VixensVengeance on Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:25 am

Manu wrote:
VixensVengeance wrote:What would you do? Follow DMs lead and treat your job as he did or would you respect the position and treat it as time your employer owns because they are paying you to do whatever they want done no matter whether you perceive it as productive or not and do the best job you can even to the point of exceeding expectations and going above and beyond? Is dark side excellence in serving self or excellence in doing the better job than everyone else no matter what it is?

False dichotomy.

Both serve self.

No your missing my point. I know they are both self serving but Im asking which approach would you take? One that benefits only self or one that benefits self and your employer? And why would you take one approach over another?

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by Manu on Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:37 am

VixensVengeance wrote:No your missing my point. I know they are both self serving but Im asking which approach would you take? One that benefits only self or one that benefits self and your employer? And why would you take one approach over another?

Personally, I take the second approach. I enjoy being the best at what I do, and having people come to me for help and advice. I do take pride in generating value for my company, and being perceived as valuable by my team. Generating value for myself and my employer is a win-win situation.

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by VixensVengeance on Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:56 am

Manu wrote:
VixensVengeance wrote:No your missing my point. I know they are both self serving but Im asking which approach would you take? One that benefits only self or one that benefits self and your employer? And why would you take one approach over another?

Personally, I take the second approach. I enjoy being the best at what I do, and having people come to me for help and advice. I do take pride in generating value for my company, and being perceived as valuable by my team. Generating value for myself and my employer is a win-win situation.


I agree. Do you find that approach more of a challenge than the other way as well? Not only considering yourself but others as well in your pursuit of excellence?

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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by Luciana on Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:09 pm

I can't help but feel that someone should point out situations are generally much more nuanced than the dichotomies being presented here.

Now I know this is a Dark board and not necessarily a Sith board, but this is why one's Passion matters so much to the Sith. 

No one has time/ energy/ resources to excel above all others in every single little thing they do. That is impossible. Choices must be made - often hard ones. For example, I am a terrible Aunt. That is because family is not ranked highly in my list of priorities. 

Whether or not you drive for excellence in your career depends entirely on whether or not your career is your Passion. If it is, then absolutely - push, drive, go as hard as you can. But for many people, their job is the means they use to fund their Passion, and therefore less important. In these instances, energy must be conserved. 

When I read DM's post, I notice he has exemplary skills in setting boundaries, deciding what is important, and managing time (even if he has now given up on time management). That is incisive, defining, focused - all things that indicate an interest in excellence - as well as being self-serving. Are they passionate about their job? Maybe. It's hard to tell. Maybe they are so passionate about what they do that they have to manage themselves with that much discipline or they would be running around doing every aspect of it. Maybe they are not - maybe their job was merely the financial means to pursuit of their true Passion. 

Either way, the reduction of this situation to any sort of dichotomy (false or otherwise) is rather silly. People are much more complex than this. A more interesting question for DM would be simply "why?"  Why so many boundaries? Why such strict discipline? Was your job your Passion, or were you simply making money to fund the things that really matter?
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Re: Busy does not equal productive

Post by VixensVengeance on Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:52 pm

Hello Luciana!

I was just thinking about you. I agree with your thoughts. I guess my questions in this thread were revolving around trying to break things down to this super simple level and then building up from there. So I am collecting opinions. This conversation actually reminded me of another we had a while ago on the old FA board about the victim triangle you posted.

I was just there rereading your comments and they hold so much more profound meaning for me now than they did 6 months ago. I have been studying intently and have begun to see much of the deeper meaning I think you intended to convey in pursuing power for powers sake versus pursuing power to intimidate or control others.

In this particular case it equates to the reasoning behind the decisions made in career. Was the career the passion itself or was the career simply a tool in the pursuit of a different passion. And how in that pursuit nothing should be taken personally, as in, things dont happen "to you", they just happen. And each moment we need to know that and act accordingly.

I have begun to see other triangles emerging. My pursuit of passions has gone from this incoherent massive list to 4 specific things to 3 generally defined concepts. Those concepts are forming a triangle for me now and I am trying to further refine those.

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