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Saturday, March 26, 2011

TOO BUSY TO WORK

How come people go to work everyday and come back home exhausted, but having accomplished little, if anything at all? These people may be in public service, in corporate offices, in voluntary organisations, and may even be in business for themselves, but the same disproportionate relationship between effort and result seems to prevail regardless of the career choices people make. In answering this puzzling question, it is useful to ask yet another question: what do these people do in their workplaces that exhausts them so?

Let me suggest a few simple answers from what I have observed as an administrator:
1. People get exhausted from doing too much work that contributes nothing toward the accomplishment of real work goals and objectives. This wasted effort is often the result of not defining Key Result Areas in the first place. There is no point in tackling any task that presents itself unless that task relates directly to stated goals and objectives. Learning to reject tasks that have nothing to do with what you must accomplish is both a success principle and a survival skill.
2. People get exhausted from doing too little work that contributes to the accomplishment of real goals and objectives. Too much time and effort are expended on tasks that delay the accomplishment of what really needs to be accomplished, and too little time and energy are left for the accomplishment of tasks that really matter. Psychologically, this produces stress, frustration, guilt and confusion, and may result in unnecessary hours of overtime during times when mind and body are in their least productive state. New stress, frustration, guilt and confusion are, in turn, generated as obligations to family are neglected, and activities that give balance to life are abandoned.
3. People get exhausted from working too hard, rather than working smart. What goes in and what comes out simply don't match, even if care is taken to ensure that the tasks undertaken are relevant to the desired outcomes. We all need to remember that we are operating in a knowledge economy where even the letters on the keyboards of our computers can be programmed to become "macros", so that a single key stroke accomplishes a full task. If we invest more time in getting to know what the available technology can do at our bidding, we will get more work done with less wear and tear on us. Another cause for working too hard is forgetting who else is with us in the work place. Sharing work among people who have come to work, a practice sometimes called delegating, is a smart way to ensure that meaningful tasks are actually accomplished, and we all go home with some energy and good cheer to share with family and friends.
copyright Jonathan Wutawunashe 2011

The writer is the author of the book FULFILL YOUR THREATS:Simple Principles to Help You Succeed in Life.

13 comments:

  1. This is a great post as usual. It clarifies the mind and lays bare the steps that need to be taken towards desired goals. This opens up the mind. Very practical and useful indeed

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  2. Good thoughts indeed. I support some of your thoughts by adding that if you watch an intersection on the road when the traffic lights have stopped working you will find stressed drivers, little progress and possible accidents. Whats missing is the leadership and coordination that the traffic lights provide and what's available is focus on personal advantage and no justice. Human beings can be lazy, selfish and confused. As Jesus said, they are like sheep and they need someone to lead them and coordinate their work, show them direction and reward them for doing well/sanctions for misdeeds. That is why a well organised work place produces because each cog or part is working well in its assigned role. When others do not do their work and a few have to carry the load that is another common source of injustice.

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  3. Heziwell Mhunduru, NamibiaMarch 29, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    What I have read has challenged me immensely especially since I have so often preached about time management to all the three groups that I mingle with regularly ie my family, the church congregation and my school (both learners and teachers) BUT so far this year,I know I could have managed my time better. Sometimes I have even felt that giving myself time to plan was also wasting my time! But all the same, I have not had time for much, and have often felt tired and frustrated. I will fight till I have full access to your book.

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  4. Simon,thanks for your insightful thoughts. What you say makes a lot of sense, and complements very well the thoughts I put down. Your comment has certainly enriched this discussion, and I hope you can continue to feature on this blog with your high quality input.

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  5. Heziwell, thank you for your helpful contribution. Believe me I have been there, and I believe most of us have experienced times of exasperation where it seems that there are not enough hours in our day for us to do what needs doing. The key to the solution presents itself the moment we recognise the problem and call it by its name, then adopt simple strategies to correct it. I hope the remedies I suggest in my post are helpful in this regard. Again, thank you, and keep posting your thoughts on this blog.

    Jonathan

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  6. And oh, I forgot to answer your question on where you can find the book. Outlets like Milton Kamwendo's Innov8 Bookshop chain carry it.

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  7. This is so true!! With only so many hours in the day and so much busy work to be done, one tends to find that at the end of those harrowing hours, nothing has been accomplished with the intent of bringing one closer to one's life goals. Indeed, there may be food on the table and a roof over one's head, but what of tomorrow's dream? One can search and find it placed firmly on the back burner awaiting the day when one has the time to attend to it. Unfortunately One doesn't realize that out of the 16 or so hours spent on said busy work, about 10 could have been spent on true productivity. Furthermore, I would assume that one's life goals, once accomplished would be a bringer of joy and a sense of pride in accomlishment, therefore to give up the dream in exchange for the mundane is irrational considering that the work that we put in toward our life goals tend to be the works that we love. Remembering this fact would alleviate any frustrations that anyone may suffer in hot pursuit of those goals, granted they are in hot pursuit.

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  8. Thank you Tendi for your brilliant comment. I hope you can continue to energize this blog with your unique and exciting perspective! Thanks.

    Jonathan

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  9. In his blog dated 26 March, Jonathan Wutawunashe has highlighted some very critical issues plaguing the human resources across the Globe. Learning to prioritize and suitably delegate, remains a deficiency even with so called successful people from all spheres of life. Failure on these issues results in inadequate capacity to hold higher assignments and many a time results in professional or physical collapse. He has timely advised to use Information, Communication Technology (ICT) to further enhance our capacity to handle more tasks, delegate to a wider range of associates, monitor intelligently and control effectively to accomplish organisational and personal goals meticulously. Jonathan Wutawunashe's blog is another feather in his well decorated literary cap and simply worded to be understood by one and all, just like his earlier compositions. we look forward for more nuggets of wisdom from this Great Oracle of Harare......

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  10. Naresh, thank you so much for your incisive contribution and for the kind words you shared about my efforts. Your deep analysis and understanding of the critical areas of prioritization and delegating adds an invigorating dimension to this discussion. Thank you!

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  11. Work that doesn't accomplish anything is draining. We end up exhausted and not feeling like we've made a real difference even though we're working hard.

    This post reminded me of a video that fits in with what you've shared about tasks and goals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

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  12. It always amazes me that when things where happening and you are getting results from your work you have an abundance of energy and can do so much more without feeling tired.On the days when you feel most tired are the days when you have not worked on anything connected to your main goals. The task is to stay on track everyday and put first things first.

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    Replies
    1. Kathleen, how right you are! I have noticed that when I allow myself to be idle I become listless and uninspired. Your emphasis on focusing on goals is right on the money. Thank you so much for these great insights.

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