Office misanthrope or self-restraint as questionable method of productivity enhancement
Get rid of smartphones immediately, ‘cause all gadgets come straight from the devil. Delete social network accounts and block websites. Leave access to JIRA. Do not respond on emails, forget about it. Just press the buttons!
No, it ain’t postulates of office misanthrope and not even a philosophy of introverted software developer. These are real pieces of advice of some experts, the rules and guidelines of various life-coaches. The rules which were designed to improve our lives and increase productivity of our daily work.
Perhaps it’s really working. For some people. Nevertheless, I allow myself to discard such pieces of advice. We’re not cavemen, are we? Not slaves. We don’t need prohibitions, taboos and restrictions to do our jobs well. And moreover gadgets nowadays has become a basic necessity, our assistants, kind of our little helpers. So why should we get rid of such an instrument? What benefits this would bring exactly?
If you have psychological problems – get specialist for help.
Certainly, if you have psychological problems and you cannot tear your eyes away from the screen, shooting a slingshot with chickens, instead of working, or hunting mythical monsters during scheduled working meeting then it is indeed better to throw the device away. And even the best – to get specialist for help.
If you are permanently monitoring social network profiles of your friends, liking their vacation photos, swallowing your saliva and eating your boogers instead of doing a job, then indeed, it may be better to delete all your accounts and start living your own life.
Personally I can’t see connection between the above mentioned tips and the real productivity improvement of my work. The main appeal of these guidelines, how I believe, might be some of the following thesis: “How to start living a real life”, “How to overcome addiction”, “How to control your actions” or “How to get power of will back”. But these pieces of advice a priori can hardly be directly related to productivity.
What if I would have checked my email box just once or twice a day, as experts recommend? A disaster: client spits poison, ‘cause I ignore him. The vein in my boss forehead is going to explode, because of client’s escalations on my inappropriate behaviour. In the meantime, a few dozen of emails are accumulated, and I still need to respond to them.
Now tell me, please, what is easier: to respond to one email in 15 minutes or to respond to 30 emails straight away at the end of the day? Or you can afford yourself just to ignore them? Because I can’t.
How effective is blocking websites.
Ask yourself the question – is websites blocking effective? If the answer is positive, you have problems, indeed. Just not with productivity, but with your power of will. A low productivity “treatment” by blocking sites, it’s just like cure a hangover with a mug of beer – headache seems to be gone, but we all understand that this is not the right approach to treatment. You can feel a minor effect, of course. Though, not due to the efficacy of this approach, but due to temporary side effect.
We should look at productivity enhancement through prism of implementation of new approaches, and the improvement of existing instruments and mechanisms. We should look for a wise workflow organisation, and rational methods of reducing negative demotivating factors as well. Because productivity depends not only on qualifications, experience or proficiency, but also on team morale, working conditions and creative, research and social activity.
Naturally, it’s impossible to perform at the same pace all day long. Any activity sooner or later wears you out. From the objective point of view, exhaustion is manifested in lower productivity, but subjectively – in the feeling of this exhaustion. That is why each of us needs rest. It is essential to relieve stress, relax and rest few minutes at least, to distract yourself. Someone is listening to music, reading news or interesting publications, and someone is checking his profile in the social network or calling his loved ones. Why not?
It’s just impossible to achieve maximum productivity with prohibitions and restrictions. No chance.
It’s considered that the maximum productivity of employee – it’s maximum efficiency at the such level of his functional and mental activity that does not cause body strain, – and also add here from myself – does not block any creative, research or social activity. Which, I believe, are integral elements for growth and the driving force of productivity improvement by acquiring new knowledge, skills, experience and social contacts.
A man by nature, whatever you might say, directly or indirectly depends on the society. The conscious and voluntary self-restraint or even withdrawal from the interaction with society players leads to an isolation and worsening social position, which, among other things, will certainly affect productivity.
The pieces of advice, which were presented at the beginning, may be easily used as elements of the program of struggle with a weak willpower, addiction or other bad diseases. Just not as part of productivity improvement program.