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Speed Up By Slowing Down

Avoiding action addiction.

Jonas Achouri Sihlén
Jonas Achouri Sihlén
2 min read
Speed Up By Slowing Down
Photo by Margit Bantowsky / Unsplash

Action Addiction

I usually refer to this hustle as "The Busy Being Busy Culture" to really point out that many of us live a hectic life without the space to reflect on why we are that busy in the first place.

Work is a big part of our lives, which is great. We all want to contribute and be recognized for the value we bring to our teams, and we can manifest that through our work. But that also means our work - life can easily spill over and one factor to consider is the one related to action addiction. A reactive state of trying to tackle work by acting on every single task.

Action addiction is just what it is, an addiction. There is a link to the instant feeling of gratification we get from completing a task. But it can in many cases lead to the opposite: poor performance.

Overcome Action Addiction

I have learned the hard way that more is not better. Handling more activities will not turn you into a productivity machine. As a former management consultant I usually had to balance lots of activities and projects. I have tried different tools, frameworks and productivity systems believing that there is a tool or framework to rule them all.

Spoiler: there isn't one! We are all different and we pick the stuff that seem to work for us in any given situation. That requires practice, reps and insights. But most importantly: time to reflect!

Learn The Difference Between Activity And Productivity

To become truly nimble in our work we need to learn how to ride on the focus wave. The daily rhythm of focused intensity. Several studies have been presented around the optimal time for deep work and shallow work. Since we still are biological creatures there is a biological rhythm we can play into when it comes to our focus levels.

Keeping a schedule and routine around this can be really effective. It also reduces stress by forcing us to really plan our most valuable work when we have our peaks of focus.

Knowing the difference between activity and productivity is powerful. Not only to filter away the stuff that is least important, but also to reduce unnecessary stress that is usually linked to a constantly stuffed work-schedule.

Resources to dive further into:

Article: Productivity VS Activity

Book: The Mind of the leader

Paper: Potential vulnerabilities of neuronal reward, risk, and decision mechanisms to addictive drugs

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