Day #841:Activity Vs. Achievement

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Two Irishmen were working for the city public works department.

One would dig a hole and the other would follow behind him and fill the hole in. They worked up one side of the street, then down the other, then moved on to the next street, working furiously all day without rest, one man digging a hole, the other filling it in again.

An onlooker was amazed at their hard work, but couldn’t understand what they were doing. So he asked the hole digger, “I’m impressed by the effort you two are putting in to your work, but I don’t get it .  Why do you dig a hole, only to have your partner follow behind and fill it up again?”

The hole digger wiped his brow and sighed, “Well, I suppose it probably looks odd because we’re normally a three-person team, but the lad who plants the trees called in sick today.”

John Wooden once said, “Never mistake activity with achievement.”

Sometimes, it’s easy to be like the two gentlemen in this story.  We can fall into the habit of looking as though we’re working diligently, but in the end we’re either doing stuff that doesn’t matter, doesn’t get us closer to our goals or that is a waste of time.

Most companies even encourage this habit. They allow a culture where people believe looking busy, or staying in the office long after everyone has gone home but not doing anything productive gives your bosses the impression that you are working hard and long. Meanwhile, you were watching  Youtube videos all along.y

Make sure that you know why you’re doing what you’re doing and regularly assess your activities to maximise their potential impact.

Your working time is valuable, so make sure that you fill your days with meaningful work that uses your time and energy wisely.

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