RobotsI used to be a robot. You know what I’m talking about: I used to be all about getting done as much as possible, as fast as possible. Sounds really productive, right? Well, it’s not. Here’s why:
Reason #1: Robots Don’t Understand that Different People Have Different Motivations
Last week I made a list of 12 different motivation factors and asked my employees to choose their top three. Their answers were all over the place. Some of them care about money, some want a flexible work environment and some care about making a difference.
I don’t like people talking to me when I’m at the computer, but some of my employees need to be joking all the time in order to enjoy their work and be productive. It took me a long time to understand that other people can be productive in different ways than I am.
Ask your employees what’s important to them. Some of them will care about having fresh coffee in the morning. Some of them need music. Some prefer to come in a little later and leave a little later. As long as they’re productive, let them be productive their own way. They’ll be happier and so will you with their performance.
Reason #2: When All You Care About Is Performance, You’re Miserable
I read so many productivity books that I was obsessed with finishing things fast so I could get more done. Before this year, I never had any fun at work. Sure, I was happy when we got new clients and sad when we lost one, but I didn’t let myself enjoy the actual work I was doing. Now I’d much rather take an hour doing something and enjoying it than doing it in 50 minutes thinking only about finishing it so I can do the next thing on my list.
We spend most of our time at work. We should relax more and have more fun.
Reason #3: Doing Important Things More Slowly Is More Efficient
If you don’t agree with me that enjoying the work you do is more important than getting as much as possible done, maybe this will convince you: working faster isn’t always more efficient. Working slower allows you to increase the quality of your work. I couldn’t imagine Michelangelo rushing to finish painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel just so he can get it done and move on to the next project.
I get my best ideas when I step out of the office and go for a walk or a cup of coffee. Most businesses would be doing much better if they stopped producing for a day and took the time to look at the big picture to find opportunities for improvement.
Here are some examples of things that are better done slower than faster:

  • I’d rather take the time to write an excellent proposal for one prospect than to send the same template to three prospects.
  • Taking two weeks to plan your website makes much more sense than launching a crappy site that looks like every other site out there.
  • Taking the time to build a relationship with an influential person in your industry that can refer business to you is a lot more valuable than spamming 100 people with an offer they don’t care about.

Do meaningful work. Make a difference. And, have fun!