#WFH Are You Authentically Productive?

“Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” Morpheus, The Matrix

Ever since we adopted smartphones, we have been connected to work 24/7. These technologies can be very helpful in keeping in touch with the office, but they can also be time vampires. To prosper in the virtual world, we have to get things done. Busy is not good enough. The illusion is that we can have it all, that we can be everywhere and do everything at the same time: work, family and play. But is that really true? Or have we increased connection and not concentration? Have we developed the tools to allow us to be truly present nowhere? These technologies will keep us connected and busy, but what about productive? There are a lot of people in the virtual environment who are very busy but not authentically productive.

When you are at the soccer game, you are on a business call. When you are at work, you are sending texts to the kids. When you are out to dinner, you are checking your email. You are never truly present anywhere. No wonder you are having a difficult time staying on task. It is hard to concentrate and even harder to take a moment to reflect on what is going on. This blending of work and play should make you more flexible and fluid because the boundaries that once distinguished these separate worlds are no longer present and are not coming back anytime soon. Setting your own boundaries is extremely important to authentic productivity. But before you can set limits, you have to be aware of what you are doing. Technologies, sold as a way to stay connected, are also a way for us to disconnect from ourselves and from one another. Smartphones, online, apps and email have accelerated the pace of life. All of this connectivity does not equal productivity. In order to be productive, you need to focus.

The virtual world, though, is one of distractions. The Internet offers a wide variety of “stuff” and mobile has made it all accessible anywhere, at any time, for any reason. Bored? Just connect. You can find something that interests you. Connection, however, is not productivity. It is quite possible to be constantly connected and get nothing accomplished. In order to survive and thrive in the virtual  workplace, you must learn to be authentically productive. Much of our connectivity is habit, done at an unconscious level. These technologies reinforce in us a compulsion, if not an addiction, to detached engagement. We monitor people on Facebook and feel empowered when we check email. Why? These connections stimulate our emotions and emotions are powerful. Something as seemingly benign as email has the ability to provoke love, pleasure, anxiety, even hatred. Checking your email can cause your demeanor, breathing and heart rate to change.

Productivity requires you to focus that stimulation and get things done.

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