In my last article I talked about how it’s okay not to be ambitious, as well the importance of finding fulfilment at work and in life in ways that suit you. In our 24/7 work environment we are always busy, always on the move and always under pressure… but technological developments have offered opportunities to change the way we work and where we work.
Most of us have to work, at least some of the time, to keep the wolf from the door and cater for our needs and wants. It’s great if you find a job you love and can work at something that you describe as your ‘passion’. However, that doesn’t happen for all of us; some never find a job they even remotely like. Worse, when we get back from a week on holiday, the email inbox is overflowing and the same old routine is waiting to suck us back into the vortex of busyness. We tell ourselves that being busy means we are successful, making progress, doing important stuff.
Most of us spend a lot of time at work and too many people seem to feel they don’t have control over their working lives. Working on a flexible basis and managing our work responsibilities to dovetail with other interests and commitments is important. Some organisations, like ours, operates on a Results Only Work Environment where each person in the organisation is 100% accountable and 100% autonomous.
Prioritise down time
The ROWE concept was created by Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler and aims to give managers the tools to define goals which may or may not be met by the results of individual contributors working for that manager. This focus on results allows significant freedom to the organisation to focus less on the minute details of employee daily routine and more on results.
It’s the quality of work that matters, not the hours spent at the desk
It doesn’t really matter if the work is done in the serviced office or the under-the-stairs office cubby, on Monday morning or Sunday afternoon. What matters is that good work is delivered as agreed. Then, when we’ve finished being busy, busy, busy we can head for the park, or bake a cake or write an essay. Time spent doing things other than work is not necessarily being wasted, if we are learning and exploring… it all adds to the rich mix, and is where creativity at work tends to come from.
You are probably not really as busy as you think you are, Nils F. Schott, the James M. Motley Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University, who specialises in the philosophy of time, says that humans enjoy being busy when a task is fulfilling but may feel weighted when a task feels obligatory or when they feel pulled in two directions. We tend to fritter away our time or fill it with obligations that need not be a priority. It’s more important to make time for the things you want to achieve than to be constantly complaining about how busy you are.
Take a break
That’s not a recommendation to reach for a chocolate bar, though I wouldn’t usually say ‘no’ but a suggestion that you break your working day from time to time. Bob Kustka, founder of Fusion Factor, a productivity and time-management consulting firm in Norwell, Massachusetts says,
“The longer you work, the less efficient you are. Workers are like athletes in that they are most efficient in concentrated bursts. Working energy, like physical energy, is best used in spurts where we work hard on a few focused activities and then take a brief respite”.
German designer Tobias Van Schneider dislikes the term “work-life balance” because it assumes one side (work) is evil and unenjoyable and must be balanced out with the other side (life) that is good. He says that if you don’t enjoy your job enough to look forward to it, it may be time to seek new employment – or change your perspective.