How busyness leads to bad decisions - Deepstash

deepstash

Beta

deepstash

Beta

Deepstash brings you key ideas from the most inspiring articles like this one:

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

How busyness leads to bad decisions

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20191202-how-time-scarcity-makes-us-focus-on-low-value-tasks

bbc.com

How busyness leads to bad decisions
Let's see if this sounds familiar: You churn through the day at work under deadline pressure, racing to meetings, dashing off emails, feeling busy, purposeful and a little breathless. Yet as the end of the traditional workday draws near, you realise with a sinking feeling that you haven't even begun the big project you meant to tackle that day.

7

Key Ideas

Save all ideas

Chronically Busy

Normally, people who are busy and stressed out on constant work, eradicate their work-life balance by bringing work home or worrying about unfinished work too much, leading to stress.

Chronically busy people feel pressed for time and are stressed out, narrowing their attention and cognitive bandwidth.

204 SAVES


VIEW

Tunnelling

When we are having a narrow cognitive bandwidth, it can help us hyper-focus but is also harmful.

Tunnelling can lead us to focus on the urgent but not so important tasks immediately in front of us, which at the end of the day isn't very productive.

160 SAVES


Email as a Slot Machine

Email is the perfect addictive slot machine of our attention.

Our brain craves something new and likes being interrupted with some notification rather than focusing on one task continuously.

Email is pseudo work masquerading as real work and is not productive if handled all the time.

138 SAVES


Sitting Idle

People love being busy and cannot sit idle. A study found people preferred giving themselves electric shocks rather than sitting idly all day.

Smoking, for example, is habit-forming due to the same reason, having something to do, instead of being idle.

158 SAVES


Checking Email on Intervals

People who are checking their emails on a pre-set schedule are less stressed out than people in front of the inbox the whole day, replying to emails as they come, eventually increasing their incoming mails and avoiding real productive work.

128 SAVES


Time Scarcity

A scarcity mindset, the feeling that we have less time, is the same as having less money.

We don't have space, the peace or the mental clarity to do what's right or important, so we end up doing what's urgent and stay trapped in the tunnel.

170 SAVES


Less Time, More Focus

If we plan our limited time, taking care of focusing on productive work, rather than doing unproductive 'busy' work all the time, we end up being more accurate, and careful, leading to growth and real benefits of work.

161 SAVES


SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Busyness is a myth

Although people feel much busier with work these days, the total time people are working – whether paid or otherwise – has not increased in Europe or North America in recent decades.

The illusion of busyness is caused by:

  • Economies grow and time is more valuable: Any given hour is worth more, so we experience more pressure to squeeze in more work.
  • The type of work we do has changed: We live in an “infinite world" - more incoming emails, meetings, things to read, more ideas to follow up – and digital technology means you can easily crank through them. The result, inevitably, is feeling overwhelmed.

Busyness has become the indicator of status

Though historically, the ultimate symbol of wealth, achievement and social superiority was the freedom not to work. Now we measure our worth not by the results we achieve, but by how much of our time we spend doing things. 

The urgency bias

The urgency bias

We usually give priority to unimportant tasks when there is a sense of urgency around them.

We’re actually psychologically wired to put aside important tasks in favor of ta...

Why it’s hard to ignore urgent tasks

A few explanations as to why it’s so hard to reject urgent tasks:

  • The completion bias. Our brains crave the reward we get from checking off small to-dos from our list.
  • Tunnel vision: When we get overwhelmed by the things we have to do, we choose to act on those most available to us; these are usually emails, calls, meetings, and other low-friction tasks.

Urgency puts us into reactive mode

The problem is that we’re continually bombarded with urgent work: emails, meetings, calls, and instead of being in control of our time and attention, we respond and act on someone else’s priorities.

3 more ideas

Social Comparison Theory

Psychology Today describes social comparison theory as, "... determining our own social and personal self-worth based on how we stack up against others we perceive as somehow faring better or worse...

What Others Think of Us

As a human being interacting with other human beings, we learn that how we show up in the world seems to matter. 

If we have learned through our own social experiences that certain patterns of behavior, such as being extraordinarily busy and constantly on-the-go lead to being successful, connected and accepted by others, then we may find it appealing to engage in those behaviors.

Busy vs. Productive

Merriam-Webster defines the word productive as, "Yielding results, benefits or profits." Essentially, it means that we have something to show for our hard work. 

Being busy has to do with an amount of time, where productivity has more to do with our use of time.