This is topic Work Ethic and the Amount of Work to Do in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

To visit this topic, use this URL:;f=2;t=038219

Posted by Enigmatic (Member # 7785) on :
I think my overall ability to work efficiently and with focus is wired backwards relative to the amount of work that needs doing.

When there is not much work left, I am very driven and will stay on task well. I like seeing the queues at 0 at the end of the day, even if that means working very hard all shift and they're only at 0 for a few minutes before the end of the day.

But when there's a ton of work to do and that kind of focus would really be more useful, I find myself easily distracted and lethargic. I realize it needs doing even if it won't all be completed today, but I have a harder time making myself focus.

At the moment, I'm thinking mainly of my actual job (Yes, I'm at work. I'm on break for a few more minutes, though.) but it also seems to apply on writing short stories vs novels and other such things.

Does anyone else have this problem? Or any good ways around it?

Posted by Tante Shvester (Member # 8202) on :
I'm the opposite. When I have lots to do, I work like a demon, and get huge amounts done efficiently. When I have just a little work on my plate, I'm more likely to waste time and get nothing done.
Posted by Megan (Member # 5290) on :
Enigmatic, I feel that way quite a bit. The way I handle it is to make small goals for myself, like, "By two o'clock, I will have finished this bit." It's the finishing that keeps me going, so as long as I stick to small goals that get finished, I do alright.
Posted by Valentine014 (Member # 5981) on :
Your thread reminded me of an article I heard about.

It's basically saying that boredom leads to unhappiness at work and more time taken off.

So, yeah, you're not the only who has noticed that you put forth more effort when you have something to do.
Posted by Toretha (Member # 2233) on :
I kinda balance. When I have a lot of work to do, but still within the possible realm, I work like mad, and thoroughly enjoy it. When I have a little work to do, I slow down and try to draw it out as long as possible. And when, like work has been since school starts I've got a load that no sane person could ever think possible, I try to work quickly but end up feeling so frustrated with what I'm expected to finish I get less done, and don't really have much motivation to work fast: why bother? I'm never going to be able to finish, so what's the point?
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
I'm like Tante; as my workload increases geometrically, my actual productivity increases exponentially.
Posted by Tresopax (Member # 1063) on :
Sometimes big goals are harder to grasp than short goals, so it might be easier to work towards a near goal than a farther goal. That's why it's useful to break big tasks into smaller ones, I think.

So, yeah, you're not the only who has noticed that you put forth more effort when you have something to do.
Well, this is also definitely how it should be, shouldn't it? Why would you want to put a lot of effort into something trivial or minor?
Posted by Mr.Funny (Member # 4467) on :
I think my focus (in terms of schoolwork, which is what I mainly base my focus level off of) is dependent on how close the upcoming due date looms in the future. My mother can most definitely attest to this.

I swear! I'll stop procrastinating!

Next week, maybe.
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
Enigmatic, me too. Definitely.

And Val, isn't that almost the opposite of what he said?
Posted by Tstorm (Member # 1871) on :
Depends on the work. Personal projects tend to be 'enigmatic' for me. [Smile] The larger the personal project, the less likely I'll undertake it. Typical procrastination pattern.

My work load at my job doesn't vary much. It sucks, and it seems I'm always behind. But the corporation and managers engineer it that way. There's never enough time to get everything done or do a great job on anything, without letting a bunch of other things slide. I realize one reason my workplace is structured that way, is to eliminate the potential for worthless employees to waste time.

I'm actually a little amazed my work ethic remains strong there. I have hope for something better, so I'll continue working for it.
Posted by Valentine014 (Member # 5981) on :
*grown* Yes, rivka. That's what I get for not reading a post carefully.
Posted by jeniwren (Member # 2002) on :
Enigmatic, I'm the same way. I have to chop projects up into smaller chunks with deadlines to keep the energy level right. It's easier still if I have those deadlines from external sources. It's an extra kick in the butt. I work best when I know I've got a short deadline.
Posted by Treason (Member # 7587) on :
Enigmatic, me too. I feel overwhelmed when there is a large amount of work to do and I tend to shut down and/or panic.
It really is easier to make smaller goals for yourself.
Posted by Audeo (Member # 5130) on :
11. I obey the law of inverse excuses which demands that the greater the task to be done, the more insignificant the work that must be done prior to beginning the greater task.
That's from a wonderful poster I have called the procrastinator's creed. It's not quite as good as one sign I've seen, it states:

"Steps to stop Procrastinating:

1. "

[Big Grin]
Posted by Enigmatic (Member # 7785) on :
Normally I do pretty well with breaking things into smaller goals/tasks. The problem at my current job may be in part the way work is tracked and appears in queue: it makes it very hard to tell how much you're really accomplishing. That, and we currently have no performance metrics so I really do have to self-motivate.

When there's less work, it's just so much easier to see you've accomplished something: the work's GONE.

Posted by Treason (Member # 7587) on :
I used to work at a call center. Isn't there at least some sort of timer on your call? (I worked at 411 ha) We were supposed to keep our calls under 30 seconds. That helped me get through the day, seeing how fast I could be! [Big Grin]
Posted by twinky (Member # 693) on :
As far as I can tell, my work ethic is not correlated with my workload.
Posted by camus (Member # 8052) on :
As my workload increases geometrically, my coffee intake increases exponentially --> bathroom breaks increase --> productivity decreases --> workload increases --> coffee intake increases --> etc.
Posted by advice for robots (Member # 2544) on :
I get more distracted as my workload increases, until the deadline is imminent, and then I work like a dog to finish up.
Posted by kojabu (Member # 8042) on :
When my workload increases, I get really stressed out, which leads to me trying to keep up with doing the work, not being able to, and then stressing out even more.

When I don't have a lot of work to do, I waste a lot of time. For example, now, instead of doing some of the reading I have to do for Monday, I'm posting here and putzing around the internet.
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
Originally posted by advice for robots:
I get more distracted as my workload increases, until the deadline is imminent, and then I work like a dog to finish up.


Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2