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How to do everything and be happy: a recipe for effectiveness from a successful immigrant

Everyone was faced with the problem of burnout at work, or, conversely, did not know from which side to approach a particular case. Tatiana Vorozhko shared her personal experience, opinion and recommendations in the blog for what efficiency rules should be followed and which ones should be avoided. VOA.

Фото: Depositphotos

Next - from the first person.

Even by the standards of the productivity-obsessed American society, I am quite productive and organized. I am not late, I do the work on time, I can mobilize and concentrate on the task, and when working on a large project I break it down into steps and follow them consistently. I also think, write, walk and speak quickly - in a word, many of the principles of "highly effective people" are developed at the level of instincts. However, I am absolutely sure that it is not only impossible to increase human efficiency (efficiency) to infinity, but also harmful.

Each person has his own limit, and do not miss signals about his approach. My “bell” that it was time to slow down was the case when, when I saw a good friend, I changed the trajectory so as not to waste time talking.

Maternity, work and ... pills

I stopped subscribing to Working Mother magazine because their philosophy of endlessly increasing efficiency began to annoy me. Each issue contains the schedule of the day of the next successful woman, in which there is no time to relax, chat with friends and extremely little sleep. It also gives a lot of tips on how to keep up with everything, combining various things, for example, washing a toilet and bathing your baby at the same time, and at the end of the number you’ll get some calculations: this number saved you so many minutes.

What's in such a hurry ?! What will then be remembered about life, except for the checkboxes set in front of the completed tasks? And what about the childhood of a son or daughter, during whose feeding you work on the tablet, and while bathing, you wash the toilet? What is success - to be in time for everything, redoing a large pile of things, or to live a happy life?

If you work not only a lot, but also quickly and efficiently, the more you get tired - the brain works more actively and spends more energy - you need more rest. But few people, freed as a result of effective work, spend time on rest.

Sherrill Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, in her book Get Started! writes that for long-term success in life and career, you must not be afraid to refuse when excessive demands are made on you. She gives an example of how many people at McKinsey quit because they were “burned out” or were sick due to excessive workload, and when they were fired, they had unused vacation days. Bosses will never stop demanding more and more from their subordinates - it is the task of the subordinate to outline the boundaries of his capabilities, she argues.

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I have noticed that sometimes women shift the responsibility for their health to others. “If they come to grips with me, I’ll get sick, and let them be ashamed,” they think. No one will ever feel ashamed. At best, they will regret the dismissal of a productive employee; at worst, they will say that they didn’t pull.

Some American women, in order to cope with all the tasks entrusted to them, resort to the services of what it is called here, "Mom's little helper" - pills. Psychiatrist Lawrence Hill in his book "The Last Normal Child" writes about an interesting pattern: among children more often boys than girls are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and among adults, on the contrary, more often in women than in men. He explains this by the fact that society demands a lot from little boys and adult women. Six-year-old boys find it difficult to sit out for an hour in class, and 30-year-old women find it difficult to raise children, work at work and at home.

Both are helped by "Ritalin", regardless of whether they really have attention deficit, or they need a lot of this attention, writes Hill and says that women come to him who try to do impossible - mothers of babies work and are learning. And they do not associate their difficulties with concentration, sleep disturbances and sudden mood swings with this.

What is needed for success in creative work?

And in classes that require creative skills, the “work, work, and work again” approach is counterproductive. And the number of such professions in the post-industrial society is growing - more and more routine work is being automated.

The 3M company in cold Minnesota is unique. Tens of thousands of products are produced there - from touch screens to dishwashing sponges. These things have one thing in common - they are all invented in 3M, one of the world leaders in the number of innovations.

Jay Lerner in his book “Imagine: How the Imagination Works” gives an example of this company as a pioneer in using the latest knowledge in the study of brain function in labor organization. He points to two methods: the ability to think in the atmosphere without stress and communication.

In order to solve a complex problem, sometimes it is necessary to “let go”: relax and allow the brain to come to the right decision through a series of the most unexpected associations. Therefore, often inspiration comes when you walk or take a bath. One day, the ending of an article that I could not think of came up with a thought when a dentist was cleaning my dental canal.

On the subject: Morning rituals of successful people: 11 inspirational examples

The company, which is more than 100 years old, does not push its inventors with a long whip. During the day, they can go to the gym or take walks along the paths between the office rooms.

Also, employees are required to communicate with colleagues. After all, the inventor of a new glue can give an interesting idea to the creator of a new type of plastic. For the same purpose - so that employees communicate and nudge each other on ideas - the late Steve Jobs, participating in the development of the Pixar studio premises, insisted that all toilets be located in the lobby on the ground floor, next to the cafe. He believed that casual, short conversations were more useful than specially convened meetings and brainstorming sessions.

At the same time, a person who is engaged in mental work should be able to concentrate on the task for a while, to enter the so-called "stream" - a mental state when a person is fully involved in what he is doing.

Historically, only men had the opportunity to think and devote attention to mental work or creativity. Even if a woman managed to enter the creative profession, which was considered masculine, her time and attention did not belong to her. They worked in fits and starts or at night.

In letters and biography of the author of many books, of which Uncle Tom's Cabin is best known, Harriet Beecher Stowe describes her relentless struggle to write. “Nothing else but an iron will allows me to write someday; it's like rowing against the wind and the waves, ”her biographer quotes.

Even now, as a study by the American University in Washington shows, women’s scientists at US universities have more organizational and mentoring responsibilities than men, leaving them less time to write articles and research.

Also, each person has a "productivity window" - the time when he works best and when it is easier for him to enter the state of flow. I have it in the morning - between 9 and 11 - when I write my best articles, blogs and scripts. At performance trainings, it is advised to devote this time exclusively to creative work, postponing organizational and administrative matters for later, which, unfortunately, cannot always be done.

Another good way to stimulate your creative imagination is to walk. Indeed, for 97% of its existence as a species, humanity solved the most difficult problems on the go - fleeing from a saber-toothed tiger, in pursuit of a mammoth or in search of a new place to sleep. Therefore, workers who drive everywhere and eat at their desks are not fully creative.

Often I practice the so-called “walking meetings” when I discuss problems, ideas and projects with colleagues during a short walk along the corridor or around the house. And calories are burned, and it seems better, and we do not interfere with other colleagues in the open-plan office.

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In creative work, I believe, it is not worth demonizing mistakes. Of course, in our case, the journalist must check the information and there must be a clear and working system of checking each other, but the fear of making mistakes created by the management blocks initiative, imagination and forces employees to take on only simple tasks. Moreover, they learn from mistakes and sometimes they become a source of discoveries. If Alexander Flemming always washed his Petri dishes thoroughly, he would never have invented penicillin!

Obviously, in this blog I do not advocate idleness and sloppiness. I myself often wonder why a person cannot cope with the task, he simply won’t take it and will not. In this case, only a clear statement of the problem works with the specific time by which it must be done, and the consequences if this does not happen.

But when we ourselves are highly motivated and productive creative workers or manage them, it does not hurt to take into account both the latest scientific developments and the experience of leading companies. And they all point out that there is no place for labor camp methods or conveyor manufacturing in a modern office.

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