Productivity and GTD

What's the Meaning of Productivity?

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
“Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.” ~ Stephen Hawking
Hamster wheel

Human beings, throughout history, have always played with the idea of reaching a status in which leisure is most of their time and work obligations are minimal. If we can avoid hard work and rush, better.

With the first industrial revolution, in the XVIII Century, many thought that the machines and the new factories would make everyone move away from monotonous jobs. However, people were working more and more and it wasn’t unusual to have 15-hours workdays.

The second industrial revolution, at the end of the XIX Century, with new technical developments and important progresses in transport and communications, the possibility of a new leisure era started to become clear again. There were people who predicted that in the year 2000 we would only have to work two hours per day and that we would have so much free time we wouldn’t know what to do with it. It turns out it’s not.

Technology keeps developing dramatically. There are many things we don’t need to do, because machines do them. And thanks to the current communications and internet, we can make an enormous amount of transactions without getting out of our house. Nevertheless, work keeps consuming most of our time. We work more hours and enjoy less our time.

Technology is a doble-edged sword. It helps us a lot with our work, but it also makes us work all the time. We cannot escape from the email or from our phones. We have access to everything from everywhere, so it turns out we are always “available”.

We are more productive than ever, but because of the wrong reason. In most cases, productivity’s goal is that of earning more money, and not having more free time. We live in a society that encourages us to purchase more and more goods.

Moreover, in the new Knowledge Era, companies expect us to do the job that earlier on was done by several. In many countries, working many hours has become a way of demonstrating you are worthwhile — even if it’s in an inefficient way, since being a good professional doesn’t mean working more hours..

To sum up, we have all sort of advances in order to live better, but we live in a continuous hurry and more stressed than ever (40% of labour leaves are related to stress, anxiety or depression).

I seriously believe that we should change the misunderstood concept of work and personal productivity. Because, at the end of the day, what’s the meaning of life? I am sure it’s not running without a purpose like a hamster in a wheel.

Using a personal management system that takes into account the meaning of your life, like Getting Things Done, is a big change in anyone’s life: it requires learning its principles and especially acquiring the necessary habits so that it works properly. You will need some months to bear fruit, but it’s the best way of getting out of that turning wheel in which we have all got in without noticing.

2 comments

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7
Commented about 3 years ago Cyrus

Great article. Thanks for posting.

Much of the continued trend of working longer hours has to do with the perception of success and our society's idea of what it means to be important. I know a number of people who feel like they are important assets to the company because they stay later at the office. Which is, of course, silly. I know even more people who are consumed by their job, to a point where the definition of who they are is based on what they do and how many people report to them.

This is not something a well defined work/life balance can fix, or even a powerful application like Facile Things. This is a problem that exists at the level of the individual and within the society the individual lives in. In the same way the marketing tells use what food to eat, how to look, and what to do, so too does the definition of work and success define for many the path that should be taken.

I am just as susceptible as everyone when it comes to working longer hours, feeling obligated to do extra work, or giving up my weekends. The only way I freed myself from it was making the personal decision that I was not defined by what I did or how much I was paid, but how much time I got to spend with my family and engage in personal activities I enjoyed. Work suddenly became something I liked, but nothing more than a means to an end. Not the road to my destination, but one more stop along the path that I took, enjoyed, and then moved on.

This is where Facile Things can really help folks. By creating goals, you can attach tasks and projects to them. Use the Analytic tool to see how many tasks and projects are inline with what you want to achieve. If you start to see a trend of more and more of your energy focused on things you don't want to do or are not part of your goals, you need to do some serious reflecting on your current state of affairs.

Good luck to everyone out there who feels the weight of life on their shoulders. Who we are and what we do are but two weights on the scale. We must all find our pivot point and then our own center of balance.

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7 Cyrus

Great article. Thanks for posting.

Much of the continued trend of working longer hours has to do with the perception of success and our society's idea of what it means to be important. I know a number of people who feel like they are important assets to the company because they stay later at the office. Which is, of course, silly. I know even more people who are consumed by their job, to a point where the definition of who they are is based on what they do and how many people report to them.

This is not something a well defined work/life balance can fix, or even a powerful application like Facile Things. This is a problem that exists at the level of the individual and within the society the individual lives in. In the same way the marketing tells use what food to eat, how to look, and what to do, so too does the definition of work and success define for many the path that should be taken.

I am just as susceptible as everyone when it comes to working longer hours, feeling obligated to do extra work, or giving up my weekends. The only way I freed myself from it was making the personal decision that I was not defined by what I did or how much I was paid, but how much time I got to spend with my family and engage in personal activities I enjoyed. Work suddenly became something I liked, but nothing more than a means to an end. Not the road to my destination, but one more stop along the path that I took, enjoyed, and then moved on.

This is where Facile Things can really help folks. By creating goals, you can attach tasks and projects to them. Use the Analytic tool to see how many tasks and projects are inline with what you want to achieve. If you start to see a trend of more and more of your energy focused on things you don't want to do or are not part of your goals, you need to do some serious reflecting on your current state of affairs.

Good luck to everyone out there who feels the weight of life on their shoulders. Who we are and what we do are but two weights on the scale. We must all find our pivot point and then our own center of balance.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented about 3 years ago Francisco Sáez

Hi Cyrus,

It's sad that many companies/bosses encourage this kind of behavior which, paradoxically, ends up playing against the company: tired and stressed workers make more mistakes and are less productive in the end. On the other hand, as you mention, there are people who need to "stay" longer hours to feel good, important, or even productive.

Sometimes we just lose perspective.

Thanks for your comments!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Hi Cyrus,

It's sad that many companies/bosses encourage this kind of behavior which, paradoxically, ends up playing against the company: tired and stressed workers make more mistakes and are less productive in the end. On the other hand, as you mention, there are people who need to "stay" longer hours to feel good, important, or even productive.

Sometimes we just lose perspective.

Thanks for your comments!

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