One of the biggest anchors holding you back when it comes to both productivity and creating the lifestyle you want to have is W4W (work for work’s sake). It is a form of procrastinating and laziness, reinforced by years and years of habits and society defined dogmas which value busyness before productivity and meaningful work.
If we think in terms of currency, time is the biggest asset we have. Yet, by doing work just in order not to appear lazy and feel productive we waste it ruthlessly.
Paying a close eye on the industry of personal development and lifestyle design for the past two years I can attest to the fact that this issue was brought up only a handful of times. For shame.
The reason we love W4W
Working long hours on a task doesn’t make it important. But what society has thought us and what we ultimately adopted as a personal habit of ours is that the more we work the more productive we feel.
Think about it; even our economy is structured that way- we get paid for working X amount of hours. Not achieving, not accomplishing, not having done X amount of tasks, but hours. You see, we are all conditioned to believe that the more you spend time working the more work you do – a paradigm of the past that needs to be thoroughly rethought.
We work 9-5 so that we can appear hard working in the eyes of others, so that we can look ourselves in the mirror and conclude an elaborated illusion – that we are doing something worthwhile.
There is no reason to do things for the sake of doing them; for the sake of feeling occupied and productive; for the sake of escaping boredom.
Boredom is best avoided by having fun and doing the things you are passionate about, not doing meaningless work.
“I was told I will never understand the meaning of hard work. And I never did.” ~ Tim Ferriss, New York Times bestselling author, Guianese record holder in tango, Chinese kickboxing national champion, angel investor and entrepreneur.
Being efficient vs. being effective
Effectiveness is what you do that gets you closer to the goals you want to achieve. Efficiency is how quickly and efficiently you can get things done, whether it is important or not.
Understanding the difference between the two is what sets apart invested from wasted time.
Being good at something doesn’t make it important or worthwhile. You can master a technique of checking mail or going through social network feeds in record time, but it would never make the task worthy of your time.
You will see people bragging about how productive their day was and how efficient they are. If a task doesn’t contribute to your goals and can be easily avoided and recognized for what it is – a time waster – that task is not worthy doing at all.
Being efficient at something is the perfect excuse for not doing meaningful work. Translated in vernacular it means that you can go on and on for an entire day doing something that lacks importance only as to avoid doing what is truly important.
Working for work’s sake (W4W) is a form of laziness.
And it should be avoided as a way of filling time just so we can feel accomplished and productive. And we have the habit of filling time with all kind of meaningless work so that we don’t feel guilty of not doing something.
But doing the laundry four times per day is as fan as hitting your head against the curb. It’s about as profitable, too.
So how to avoid this?
What to do in order to eliminate W4W?
Stopping with the habit of doing meaningless work all at once usually turns to be a losing proposition. You will feel both guilty (for I don’t know what reason) as well as bored.
And people would rather choose working for work’s sake than feeling bored.
But there is a better way.
You can have fun, do the things you feel passionate about and fill in the hours with a whole new set of activities which tend to enrich your life both in pragmatic as well as spiritual and emotional sense.
Here is some pragmatic advice you can try right away:
1. Separate your environments
Working where you sleep, eat, and have fun is making harder to do all these things once you stop working. Designate a single environment where you do your work.
2. Never strive for endless perfection
This is another form of procrastinating and it leads to work for work’s sake. The results are minimal albeit the input in hours and energy is huge. Do the equation yourself. At least this is an easy math.
3. Stop associating your life with your work
What you do for a living distinctly differs from who you are. And this is as it should be. No project, job, or a product is the reason for your existence. Remember this every time your work interferes with your life. And remember this too- there is nothing more important than living.
4. Apply Pareto’s law (also known as the 80/20 rule)
Recognize the 20 percent of the things you do that bring you 80 percent of the results. Focus on them exclusively. Do the reverse too- try to pinpoint the 80 percent of your time that hardly brings 20 percent in payback – then only eliminate the nonessentials.
Replace work for work’s sake with living and doing what excites you
Without the distraction of deadlines and co-workers, the big questions start to emerge and become harder to fend off for a later time. In a sea of infinite options decisions also become harder – What the hell should I do with my life? It’s like senior year in college all over again. ~ Tim Ferriss (excerpt from the “The 4-Hour Workweek”)
Working only on what matters and what brings you the best results leaves you with plenty of time. Do I just sit around then and do nothing? Not usually, no. But time can be filled with other pursuits as well.
“…for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” ~ Steve Jobs
You can, and in fact you should, spend more time living and less time working. Telling me that these two are one and the same is just being plain ignorant about all the fun you can have in life.
“There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living; there is nothing harder to learn.” ~ SENECA
Travel, learn languages, dance, play sports, embrace moving and fitness, learn how to cook, play a musical instrument, go out and have whatever definition of fun you have in mind. All of these are better than doing something only as to feel productive and accomplished.
In the vein in which this article has been written, I have an announcement to make too. Lifestyle Updated, as you have learned over time, aims to advocate personal development via introducing change in lifestyle. And this article is a perfect reminder that we should all be more pragmatic when it comes to it.
In regards with this we will change our publishing schedule as to deliver better quality content – Publishing only when there is something substantially important to publish. This will lead towards better quality content, and of course more tangible and pragmatic one as well.
The publishing schedule is now changed, so expect awesome articles every Monday.
This is also a perfect time to announce that there will be more interviews featured on the site, as well as an online magazine – project that is now under construction and will be available for our subscribers for free.
We are planning myriad of other surprises as well, so this is just the beginning of redesigning Lifestyle Updated. I feel very confident that you will love and enjoy the new projects.