Tag Archives: addiction

Blog Club: Creating Conditions for Productivity


“Productivity and the conditions that we need for it” was just suggested and settled on as today’s topic at Blog Club. In the few minutes that we were talking about it, I noticed on my phone that scientologylondon had just liked this photo of mine on instagram, so I screenshot it and instagram the notification. Bam! I just created some new content and put it out into the world for my followers! I’m so productive! Take the rest of the day off, Davis.

Well yes, and…

I had, only moments before, been preaching about social media addiction, how things like pinterest and insta can swallow my time and take me to a place that’s a bit dark and definitely poor. So, my sermon continued, for me being productive is much more connected to creating engaging content that connects me more intimately with people and helps build good business relationships. Blah!

This is my problem with the P word – it assumes a whole raft of things about what I’m doing, why, and how I get things done these days. The lines between having fun, being seen to be having fun, being seen, getting to know people who might be interested in what I’m doing and making mutually valuable connections with those people are all getting waaaaay blurred.

Sometimes we need black and white rules in order to deal with the bazillion shades of grey in everyday life. So my black and white is currently no new shiny things in work hours, focusing on being real with people and building relationship here and now, really, with you to see how you can help me and I can help you – and in order to do that I have to put down (sometimes one minute at a time) the Trump stories, the Brexit saga and anything else that starts with “OMG I can’t believe they just did that” get quiet and chat with you over a coffee.

What gets me there? Self care, self care, self care. Knowing myself well and forgiving when I screw up; connecting with love and support with everyone I know, taking a good look at myself regularly, not taking myself too damn seriously, oh some self care (a walk at lunchtime, a healthy meal, a good nights sleep). You know, all that stuff.

PS ultimately, I hope for the time when I can say “my productivity is not dependent on my conditions” but, well, probably not today!

Less is More, More is Less

John Naish, talking at the opening of 2gether08 used the term infobesity to sum up what he was saying about our addictive need to ‘consume’ more and more information. In the work session I ran, Leon Benjamin described organisational dependency on hierarchy as being as difficult to get rid of as a heroin addiction. We all know at least one person who’s lost to their crackberry (and not because of the tech).

It’s an interesting metaphor – and a difficult one to use as it quickly slips into Salem territory – denial can be seen as proof of guilt. John has some neuroscientific evidence for those who demand to see physical, chemical “causes” of a phenomenon regardless of overwhelming empirical evidence of behaviours. I see people struggling with information and believing that having more will solve the problem even in the face of repeated proof of the contrary – if only we knew more… if we only had more facts… if only we could measure…

So yeah, less is more, more is less – simple wisdom which, like most simple wisdom, may take a lifetime of practice to fully assimilate.

I first saw this as an Information Manager at the Audit Commission. Part of my job was to design systems to put together all of the known facts and data about each council’s social services department in a form that would be useful to our team of people reviewing the council’s performance.

These people doing the reviewing were not statto’s, not analysts, mostly they were social workers who’d risen through the ranks to some prominence and had years of experience of how social services get delivered and managed. Only one or two had any background in a numerical discipline. Most confessed (some proudly) that it was all greek to them. And yet their lust for more and more data, cut this way or that, dressed up in all the finery that Excel can bestow, was literally insatiable. They could not get enough. My team and I could not give them enough. Reviewers still felt uncomfortable about presenting their ideas (remember, based on 20 years of professional practice) in case someone could prove them wrong.

I had to learn the discipline of saying no, of explaining that the “facts” were only signposts and that more signposts might make you feel secure but of themselves they do little to assure you of arrival at your destination.

Photo by TeddyBare on Flickr cc by-nc