#83 - The art of procrastinating instead of working harder
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The phenomenon of productivity
Since some time, I’ve discovered a phenomenon which seems to fascinate the business world. This phenomenon should bring us more peace and free time. Almost every best-selling business book talks about this as well. This phenomenon often defines one’s self-worth. Productivity.
Since we were children, we’ve been conditioned to do what is expected of us. When you finish that expectation, you have done a good job. We are now living in a world filled with endless opportunities and expectations, waiting to be seized. People who can seize the most expectations and deliver what is expected of them, are seen as the successful ones. They are the most productive people, those who thrive. But from my time as CEO, I’ve seen the opposite…
Productivity only leads to more work
There’s this saying: “Want to get something done? Ask a busy person.” And this is totally true. Many people define their self-worth by their productivity and success. The more they deliver, the better they think of themselves. The problem is that there is an abundance of opportunities today and the work always keeps coming. So if you want a project delivered, will you ask the colleague that delivers most of the time, or the one that doesn’t, because he has other priorities than work? Now you can see what I mean by productivity leading to more work. So how can we stop being so busy and start having time to enjoy life, while still having impact at work?
Less productive, more impact?
First of all, you don’t need to be productive all the time to have an impact. You can absolutely make a difference by slowing down and enjoying your life more. I myself started doing this as a CEO of a company of 130 people and still do it now as an entrepreneur and an academic director. I have never worked as little as 2022 and yet, my revenues have never been this high. This of course doesn’t mean you should work very little, but taking a day of from time to time or planning a nice holiday can be very beneficial. So how can you start?
First, understand that your self-worth isn’t defined by how much you produce or how much money you make. Your self-worth is defined by who you are as a person. In fact, a Harvard study showed that the only factors that differentiate happy people from others, are the quality of their relationships and their art of letting go.
The car, the big office, the house, the salary, the status, I got them all. And that’s when I noticed that all that didn’t bring me happiness. In fact, all that sometimes was at the cost of my happiness. Do you think delivering what your company expects, having your next promotion or raise will make you happier, even if it is at the cost of your relationships with yourself or your loved ones?
It's time to let go of the mindset that working harder or becoming more productive will help you save time, or will make you happier.
How to slow down and still have a bigger impact
The trick? Allowing yourself to not deliver everything you’re supposed to. It’s about learning to focus on the most important tasks and root causes, not the symptoms. It’s about saying no, or ignoring the rest. It’s accepting that you’ll disappoint people, including yourself. It’s deciding what is worth your time and what isn’t. It means being more strategic with your time and letting go of the need to control everything. It’s about listening to your needs.
This of course doesn’t mean that you can never do anything else than your top priorities. It does mean that you shouldn’t feel guilty if you cannot check all the boxes of your to-do list.
If you have been grinding your to-do’s non-stop. This change I told you can be a very radical one. That’s why I’ll share the biggest roadblock when starting to slow down in my next podcast episode. I’ll also give you tips on how to overcome this roadblock!
Ready to slow down as a leader or organization? https://www.qileader.com/