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Working Too Hard Guarantees Your Productivity Will Suffer. Find out Why

Copyright 2009 Bryan Beckstead

This is a lesson I learned along the way. I'm not sure when but at some point I added it to my personal arsenal. Once I added it to my personal arsenal, I started to add it to my clients' arsenal and then to the seminars and then to the systems, policies, procedure for the franchisees and so on and so on. It was a big hit with everyone, especially me. I have a habit of thinking that hard work can overcome many deficiencies and that holds true in most cases. One of my mottos is, when in doubt; do something, anything, except just sit there. When it comes to getting more done, the actual doing part of the wish list, working harder can be counter productive. Not only can it be counter productive, it can put you farther in the hole than if you had just ambled around.

The Physical Side to Better Production

We have only so much energy in us and when that is used up, we are forced to regroup and take a rest. Some of us can go longer than others, but the laws of nature will catch up to even the toughest of us. Not only do we have a limited amount of energy, that amount of energy is spaced out over a number of levels. We have our peak energy level, our mid range level, our slow level and then the level where we are actually doing less than if we had just packed it. It's a sliding scale that has a drop-off as time goes on. There is the peak: that peak will only last so long, and then we start to slide down that slippery slope. How far we slide, and how fast we slide is based on each of us and how we work, our desire, the urgency of the task, the duration of the day, the intensity of the work; a great many factors. Regardless of all of the factors that I just mentioned, there is no escaping the one constant, that once we start; there is no place for our production to go, but downhill.

To get the most out of ourselves and those around us, we must keep this fact of diminishing returns foremost in our minds. To ignore this fact, we do so at our own peril. This is why, starting your day with the thought that working really hard that day is going to get the job done, is avoiding the facts of life and in this case, the fact of diminishing returns the harder and the longer you work at what you are doing. The point is, you can't work yourself into being more productive. I should add a disclaimer to that; you can't work yourself into being more productively without making other changes to how you work. There, that is better. The bull in the China shop method of working does not get the job done.

The Mental Side to Better Production

Why do people, many people, roll their eyes when you start to talk about the mental aspect of accomplishing more in their day? In seminars it's a given that when you roll out this topic, you lose about 90% of the group. People are preconditioned to think that the way they are going to get more done in the day is directly tied to what they actually do, the physical action side of production. Clearly, what you do on the action side of things matters a great deal, but it paints an incomplete picture.

First and foremost, you have a greater capacity to think than you do to actually physically perform work. When I say physically perform work, I'm talking about getting into the hands-on, roll up your sleeves type of work. There are many of us who spend our days doing the mental side of things and this can also get tiring. Here we are dealing with the types of work that require a bit more elbow grease to accomplished. Let's agree that we can do more thinking than we can do "doing" and leave it at that.

You want to take advantage of the fact that you can spend time on the thinking, organizing, analyzing side of production and know that that time will add to your effectiveness, not take away from it. Not only will this mental preparedness not take away from your effectiveness, it will maximize the time you do spend on actually performing your tasks. What destroys our production? Mistakes in the process make a one-hour job turn into a two-hour job. Mistakes range from not having materials on hand when they are needed, not having properly trained employees doing the work, not co-coordinating all the personnel for the task, the list is endless. All of these mistakes have nothing to do with the work not being done effectively; they all have to do with the preparation work not being done, the work that has to be done before the actual work is started. It's the mental side of production that everyone rolls their eyes at when you start to tell them that this is where they should focus when they want to get more done and increase their production.


Bryan Beckstead is the creator of the Power Empowerment Group and has been involved in the Time Management and Productivity industries for almost 35 years. If you are really serious about improving your quality of life, visit him at http://www.powerempowerment.com
FREE E-Book,
Power Time System's Top 100 Time Management Tips.
Go to http://powerempowerment.com/top-100-time-management-irrefutables.html

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