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

Everyone faced the problem of burnout at work or, on the contrary, did not know which side to approach this or that matter. What are the rules of efficiency that you need to adhere to, and which are better to avoid - Tatyana Vorozhko shared her personal experience, opinion and recommendations in a blog for VOA.

Фото: Depositphotos

Next - from the first person.

Even by standards obsessed with the productivity and efficiency of American society, I am a fairly productive and organized person. I'm not late, I do the work on time, I am able to mobilize and concentrate on the task, and when working on a large project I break it down into steps and carry them out sequentially. I also quickly think, write, walk and say - 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’s 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.

Where to rush? What then will remember about life, except for the checkmarks set in front of the tasks performed? And what about the childhood of a son or daughter, during which you work on the tablet, and while bathing, do you wash the toilet? What is success - to be in time, redoing a lot 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 vacation.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, writes in his book “Turn On!” That for long-term success in life and career one should not be afraid to refuse when excessive demands are made on you. She gives an example of how many at McKinsey quit because they “burned out” or were sick due to excessive workload, and at the time of dismissal, they had unused vacation days. The bosses will never stop demanding more and more from their subordinates - this is the task of the subordinate to outline the boundaries of their capabilities, she says.

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I noticed that sometimes women shift the responsibility for their health to others. “They will test on me - I’ll get sick, and let them be ashamed,” they think. Never will anyone be ashamed. In the best case they will regret the dismissal of a productive employee, in the worst they will say that they haven’t "pulled".

Some American women, in order to cope with all the tasks assigned to them, resort to the services, as it is called here, of "little assistant mother" - pills. The psychiatrist Lawrence Hill in the book “The Last Normal Child” writes about an interesting regularity: among children, more often boys are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than girls, and among adults, more often among women than men. He explains this by the fact that society requires a lot from young boys and adult women. Six-year-old boys find it difficult to sit out for an hour in the lesson, and 30-year-old women raise children, work at work and at home.

“Ritalin” helps both of them, regardless of whether they really have a deficit of attention, or if they need a lot of attention, Hill writes and says that women come to him who are trying to do it impossible — mothers of babies work and are learning. And they do not associate their difficulties with concentration of attention, sleep disturbances and sudden mood swings in any way.

What is needed for success in creative work?

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

3M in cold Minnesota is unique. Tens of thousands of products are produced there, from touch screens to dishwashing sponges. One thing unites these things - 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 lead to an interesting idea of ​​the creator of a new type of plastic. For the same purpose - so that the workers could communicate and push each other's ideas - the late Steve Jobs, participating in the development of the Pixar studio, insisted that all the 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, enter the so-called “flow” - a mental state when a person is fully included 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 biographies of the author of many books, of which the most famous is "Uncle Tom's Cabin", Harriet Beecher Stow describes her merciless struggle for the time to write. “Nothing more than iron will allows me to ever write; 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.

Each person also has a “performance window” - a time when he is better at working and when it is easier for him to enter a state of flow. I have it in the morning - between 9 and 11 - when I write my best articles, blogs and scripts. At productivity trainings it is advised to devote this time exclusively to creative work, putting off organizational and administrative affairs until later, which, unfortunately, cannot always be done.

Another good way to stimulate your creative imagination is to walk. After all, humanity 97% of its existence as a species solved the most complex tasks on the go - running away from a saber-toothed tiger, in pursuit of a mammoth or in search of a new place for an overnight stay. Therefore, workers who travel everywhere by car and dine at their desk do not fully utilize their creative potential.

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 for checking each other, but the fear created by the leadership to make mistakes blocks the initiative, imagination and forces employees to take up exclusively simple tasks. In addition, they learn from mistakes and sometimes they become a source of discoveries. If Alexander Fleming 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 will not hurt to take into account both the latest scientific developments and the experience of leading companies. And all of them indicate that the methods of the labor camp or conveyor production method in a modern office is not the place.

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