Archive for June, 2011

The Activity Illusion – Why we live to work in the 21st century and how to work to live instead, by Ian Price, Reviewed by Valerie Dwyer, Serial Entrepreneur, Coach, Mentor, Inspirational Speaker, founder of My Wonderful Life Coach™, Strategic Insight, Everything is Possible™, and other enterprises.

June 7, 2011

“A four day week and then three days’ fun”. Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s 1953 prophesy, ambition and hope for British workers, without any drop in income, has not been achieved. Part of the reason now may well be self-inflicted and threatens work-life balance!

The Activity Illusion

The Activity Illusion

The aim of The Activity Illusion is to help you break the vicious circle of hyperactive work practises and shows how to fix it for you and your organisation. Though not all may apply to you, “Email is Ruining my Life” and “Lunch is for Wimps”, there are some eye-openers.  Delivers what’s practical and valuable to help you in “Taming the Technology Beast”, dealing with “People” and much more.

We may not all be taking hyperactivity to the max but be honest now, how often do you flip into your email while performing other tasks? While you’re there, do you feel an urgent need to respond to inbox messages? How much time do you spend on your mobile? Is it becoming another limb?

As you’d expect from the title, ‘hyperactivity’ is a constant theme throughout. We’ve created the technologies and gadgets to be constantly on call and alert and we’re using these to the max! If we could work in our sleep we would – and why? What is it that we’re all avoiding with ‘busyness’?

Do we really want to change? And if so, how? Are a couple of the key questions to cause us to stop and think, and which reminds me that we each have choices over everything we do, whether we’re working for someone else who is boss or ourselves as the boss (we’re often hardest on ourselves!)

We have learned so much from the Japanese, including Kaizen, widely practised in improving manufacturing efficiencies. Somewhat surprising then to learn that people in Japan have also entered the Karoshi Zone, officially certified as ‘death by overwork’! A sound reason then to reduce and eliminate hyperactivity at work, one of the biggest stressors of the modern world.

Much potential for change is laid firmly at the boss’s door, which could well be all of us! A pointing finger indicates that leadership must lead by example. The culture and environment of the organisation, large or small, reflects the leadership style. Hyperactive staff working long hours is no guarantee of working quicker or effectively.  Past a certain saturation point tests show the reverse is true. Like any activity or addiction, hyperactivity is a choice. Brilliant because that means we can change. Just as well, since studies have shown that between 10%/20% of payroll cost is spent unproductively as a result. In the current economic climate, in anyone’s calculations, too much waste!

Excellent reference to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point” – how little things can make such a big difference, as well as disturbing findings from the “Good Samaritan” psychological experiment.  The issue of “values” is raised; references to “visionary” companies and many useful references to published studies, psychology, leadership, organisational management. There’s substantial value in the chunky sections, including “Focus” and all leading up to “Freedom from Hyperactivity, the virtuous circle.

It is worth reading the whole 210 pages to be fully enlightened and choose what steps you will take.  With all the extra time you’ve made from implementing what you’ve learned, for yourself or your organisation, follow up the informative references, work less, be more effective and have fun…


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