Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Labour vs work

Have you ever taken the time to examine how much time you spend doing tasks? Do you actually plan what you are going to do or do you just ‘do it’? The answer to these questions should be considered in light of whether you do labour or work.

 

Typically labour is low value with little control over the process. I think that most people spend most of their day doing ‘labour’. They get up, come into work and try and simply wade through everything. Conversely, work is about producing high value output by being discerning about what effort is expended to produce a result. The difference comes down to planning.

 

How much time do you take to plan what you actually do? Do you also take time to review what you have achieved and determine whether in fact it can be done more effectively or efficiently? Doing work is about thinking not merely about doing.

 

Once again a good example is the way that most people tackle their emails. It is simply a labour that they go through. They have no system to maximizing their return. They simply plough into their inbox each and everyday in a vain attempt to control the information overload. Rarely would they consider taking the time to learn how to use their email program better. This effectively limits their ability to be productive and can place a significant amount of stress on their workday.

 

We almost all have access to the most powerful technology available today, so why do most continue to struggle? Like everyone else your time is limited by a set number of hours per day. If you want to achieve more you need to stop doing the low value items and do more of the high value items. Technology can certainly assist you but it requires you ‘work’ rather than merely ‘labour’ to understand it.

 

To achieve more out of everyday stop doing labour and start working.