How being busy makes you unproductive, happy and successful focuses on people’s bias for action. In other words, doing something is better than doing nothing. This not only impacts people’s feelings about themselves. It impacts how others see them.
In truth though, neither doing something nor nothing is better. It depends. Yet, people have a bias towards action.
For instance, a newly hired executive wanted to make a big splash with her service team. So, she did a reorg. They’re fourth in five years. They needed someone to settle things down. No one could get settled in their jobs. The exec lasted just thirteen months.
How Being Busy Makes You Happy
I once had a plant. I watered it every day. When I missed a day, I thought I was shirking my job. A month later, it died. I had watered it too much.
Feeling busy makes people feel happy. They feel important when they are busy. That makes them focus on such things. Busyness equals happiness.
How Being Busy Makes You Successful
Managers like workers who come in earlier and stay later than others do. They rate them better. They are more likely to promote them and give them raises.
This show of activity doesn’t just affect managers. It affects customers too. If they see a flurry of activity – even if it’s not with them – they will rate their experience better than those who don’t.
In other words, customers should not see service people doing nothing. Do something. What doesn’t matter. It’s the show that counts.
How Being Busy Makes You Unproductive
There is no proof that employees who show up earlier and stay longer are more productive than those who don’t. Yet, there is proof that managers can’t tell the difference.
Therefore, how being busy makes you unproductive is that it feels good to us and it looks good to the boss. That encourages workers to “fake” their hours. In short, they waste time.
It Might Feel Important And Look Good But Is It Productive?
Thus, it boils down to this. People do what makes them feel good and what looks good to the boss. However, as much as 41% of the work fitting this description is not productive.
This has huge impact at work. Reorgs are prime examples. They look great, but all but a few work. Yet, it makes the leadership look like it’s doing something.
It’s these types of actions that easily fool people, managers, customers and investors alike. It’s these that cause unproductive workers that are happy and successful.