I am just reading “Useful Work Vs Useless Toil” by William Morris (one of the excellent Great Idea’s Series by Penguin) and I was thinking about a question I wanted to talk about for some time, which is “Is Slow anti-work?”. I am going to give a brief answer here and hopefully expand the idea of “Slow Work” and how to do it over the next few posts.
William Morris was a leading figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement and argued that all work should be a source of pride and satisfaction, and that everyone should be entitled to beautiful surroundings – no matter what their class (although, sadly, most people only remember him as a type of wall paper!).
He made a distinction between work and toil and thought that what most people call work is in fact “useless toil”. Surprisingly, for a man of such prolific output, he described himself as an Idler!
Because, remember Slow is not about being lazy or slothful, it is about getting the right things done to the right standard and holds quality above quantity.
Sadly, when most people work they are very busy, but rarely productive. They do things to either fill the hours they are at work or do things because “they have always been done that way” with no thought about why they are doing it or if there is a better way for it to be done. We just pile more and more stuff to be done on our desks and plough through it. Rarely having the time to stop and think if it really NEED’s to be done. Our answer to all this extra stuff is to work longer hours or try and introduce time saving devices (such as the Blackberry!) which rarely solve the problem and ofte just make it worse!
And even more sadly, we reward busyness in our Society! It is not about how much you get done, it is about how much you are PERCEIVED to be getting done! You know the old phrase “you want something done give it to a BUSY person”. Nonsense!
Over the next few posts we will look at ho to be more productive, so you can get more done to a better standard in less time and with less stress. Often, by applying Slow ideas in the work place you find you seem to speed up! And then wonder what you used to do all day…