Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Someone stopped me the other day and said, “I don’t get it. What do simplicity and productivity have to do with each other?”
It’s a simple answer: no waste.
Is Productivity Effectiveness or Efficiency?
Productivity boils down to two parts: effectiveness and efficiency. Effectiveness means doing the right things, and efficiency is doing things right. Some people argue that only one of these two is necessary for true productivity, but in the big picture, where we are trying to have a productive life, I believe we must have both.
The Need for Both Effectiveness and Efficiency
In our work lives, we may be able to pick and choose what to do to have the greatest impact toward our goals and objectives. But when you distill it down to our home lives, things change. Just because doing laundry doesn’t further your life goal of world domination doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be done. So efficiency comes into play: how to do the laundry in the most efficient manner so you can get back to other things?
At the same time, we still have to know what to do in our home lives. You may want a “clean” house, but your definition of clean may be radically different than your mother’s. (I know mine is!) My mother insists on scrubbing the walls down with harsh cleaners twice a year. That’s not effective for me, since as a non-smoker, my house doesn’t need it that often.
Efficiency: Eliminating Wasted Motion, Thoughts and Effort
Efficiency experts eliminate wasted motion and effort, and get people to do things more quickly. With our modern knowledge work, that means we need to eliminate the wasted thoughts: getting out of the rabbit trails we can get on with so much information at our disposal, and staying on task.
Effectiveness: Eliminating Stuff To Do
In order to be truly effective, we have to know what we are comfortable with, and what we can stop doing. Very few of us are in a spot to actually be able to hire help to do things for us, so it’s either do it, or don’t. But you have to be able to live with the results.
Simplicity: The Elimination of Waste
When people think of simplicity, they often think of people checking out of life, living in the woods, self-sustaining and lots of navel-gazing. While this does happen, what simplicity boils down to is eliminating waste. We don’t consume as much, so there is less packaging to throw out.
We aren’t slaves of our lives, on the great hamster wheel spinning endlessly around as we try to keep up with the neighbors. It’s about making conscious choices of what we want to do, and when.
So productivity and simplicity, for me, boil down to the same thing: no waste.
I’m not there yet, but I’m trying!
Photo by Stars*Go*Blue