Half Work

Half-work – splitting your time between what you should be doing and with what society bombards us with.

James Clear, author of  Atomic Habits

Constant Connectivity

The communication age has made it easier to stay connected with customers, associates, friends, family, and the media.

Smartphones, laptops, desktops, automobile blue tooth technology, 55-inch big-screen televisions, and even refrigerators now allow us to remain constantly connected to everyone and everything.

Psychologically, this constant connectivity is driven by the fear of missing out.

To ensure we don’t miss anything we deem important, we over-compensate by constantly monitoring all our numerous communication devices.  This paranoia feels real because our customers, friends, and family have all grown accustomed to being able to reach us instantly through texts, emails, phones, and social media.

One of the results of constant connectivity is the discovery it is not good for the mind.  Research is now showing that internet use reduces people’s ability to focus for long durations of time.  Furthermore, it reduces our ability to think critically.

Productivity

The second result of constant connectivity is the loss of productivity.  The primary tool we use for work, whether it is a computer or a phone, is now also our primary source of entertainment and connection to our friends.

Ironically, the tool that we constantly use in our work and the tool that leads us to half-work, is always at our fingertips.

Additionally, the people selling computers, phones, and other connected devices constantly assure us that our new-found connectivity will increase productivity—when in reality we all know it will decrease it.

As an example, you start to write a report but stop randomly just to check in to Facebook to see if you missed anything.  Or you are on the phone with a client, and you casually start checking email.  Or, you’re at lunch with a client, but both of you spend more time looking at your screens than talking.

Your mind is not focused on work; it is only half focused.

Solutions to Half-Work

  1. Do something or nothing. If you choose to do a task, do it with full focus and no interruptions.  Or don’t do it until you can find the time and opportunity to do it.

Specifically, carve out the needed time, turn off all communications, and dive into the project.  Complete elimination of distractions is the only way to avoid unfocused, fragmented work sessions.

  1. Prioritize your work and do the most important thing first. If you allow the stream of constant connectivity to wash over you, your resolve to work on the most important things will diminish.  Before long, some message will convince you it is more important than what you decided earlier.  To be able to stick with what you have prioritized, you must turn off all connections and focus on your priorities.
  2. Focus on smaller projects. Since most projects take longer than you can stand to be away from your connected world, cut them down to small sub-projects so that you can start them and finish them before you go back online to see what is happening.

If your tolerance for time away from any connections is short, start with a short time away, and gradually increase it to the point you are again relatively productive.

The Bible

1 John 2:15-17 says.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

If you or any of your employees suffer from half-work, then you have made your connections an idol and have become a slave to them.  I know it sounds harsh, but if you are addicted to a computer screen and the connections you receive, then you have a problem that will eventually result in business issues and health concerns.

People are not made to rely on connections to their phones and the internet.  People have been made by God for God.  We are made to relate to other people, not the image of them on the screen.

Cut your connections.  Your life will be better, and your work will be better.  And, maybe, you will re-discover what God has in store for you and your business.