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How Do the Seven Deadly Sins Relate to Workplace Productivity?

How Do the Seven Deadly Sins Relate to Workplace Productivity?
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As early as the 14th century, the Seven Deadly Sins began being used as a theme in European artwork, which in turn helped them become an integral part of the culture of the Catholic Church. They’re used to illustrate man’s tendency to sin after the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. Today, they are usually recognized as pride, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, greed and slothfulness. Keep reading to see how these no-no’s could relate to how productive you are at work.

Lust, Greed, Envy, Wrath and Pride

Have you ever found yourself doing anything you could to get ahead in the workplace, even if that meant sacrificing your own morals in the process? We live in a “me-centric” culture and while there’s nothing wrong with doing everything you can to keep your skills sharp and your knowledge current, be careful that you don’t spend more time lusting after the news of a co-worker’s recent promotion and instead wondering why you weren’t the lucky individual who was granted that opportunity. Remind yourself there’s no need to wonder what might have been and that you’ll get more accomplished by showing yourself and others that you’re an asset to your job. Whether your task is to clean toilets or pitch new products to customers, do it to the best of your ability. Rather than getting caught up in what others are doing by lusting over their accomplishments, focus on making your output the best it can be.

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Greed can take many forms at your place of work. It could manifest itself as you pile your plate high with food after your manager has thoughtfully ordered food delivery, but more commonly may rear its ugly head when, contrary to the previous example, you weren’t the one who missed out on a promotion, but were the individual fortunate enough to receive it. Try not to let monetary promotions go to your head, or even worse, decide that because you’re now earning more money, that’s a great excuse to be less productive than usual. Finally, don’t let greed consume you so much that you stretch yourself thin and ultimately try to take on more than you can handle because you’re trying so hard to stand out at work. The more you try to manage at once, the more likely the quality of your work will go down. That could cause you to be distracted and make your boss wonder if someone else is more suited to the job.

Envy is closely tied to lust and unfortunately, it can drive a wedge between you and co-workers, especially if the feeling of envy is due to an inter-office relationship. It’s almost impossible to display an absence of emotion once someone else gets a reward you feel should have gone to you or is in a better situation romantically, unless you’re from another planet and not entirely human. However, feeling envious can also greatly reduce your productivity. Try to compromise and respect the person who’s making you envious. Perhaps you can learn something from him or her. Put yourself in a great position for being awarded the next promotion that’s on the horizon or project yourself in such a way so that everyone around the office sees you in a more appealing light.

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It’s natural to feel full of pride once your hard work has finally been recognized, but be careful not to spend so much of your time accepting congratulatory handshakes from colleagues that you let your work fall by the wayside. It’s also important to keep yourself grounded and not begin thinking that just because you’ve made headway at work, you’re too good to do certain tasks that may be boring or labor-intensive. When you show you’re willing to pitch in wherever’s necessary, that will prove to co-workers that you still see yourself as a person who’s on their level and aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty even after getting some sort of recognition.

Wrath can be likened to a poisonous snakebite. Once it enters your body, it has a consuming effect that can weigh heavily on your mind and make it nearly impossible to do anything worthwhile. No matter what’s responsible for your feeling of wrathfulness, get to the heart of it as quickly as possible and replace that vile feeling with one of cheerfulness. Soon, your cheery disposition should translate into higher productivity.

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Gluttony - 7 Deadly Sins

    Gluttony and Slothfulness

    No matter how many cups of strong coffee or Five-Hour Energy shots you consume in an effort to boost your energy during a day that seems like it will never end, you can’t realistically expect to be champing at the bit to respond to every task at hand. It’s far better to aim for keeping your productivity at a steady level, rather than aiming for short-lived bursts of excellence. Giving it your all during small windows of time can quickly lead to burnout, which some might say is just one level below slothfulness, one of the Seven Deadly Sins and also an efficient productivity zapper.

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    Gluttony, the final sin of note, can become problematic if you think sitting at a desk all day means you don’t need to get up and move around a little. There can be a wide variety of things at work that cause you to feel more tempted to stay tethered to your workstation and be content to stuff your face with vending machine fare, but fight back against the temptation by doing things to keep yourself in shape even if you have a sedentary job. If you let your body become lazy, your mind could follow suit. By sliding into gluttony, your productivity could soon suffer.

    Now it should be clear how the Seven Deadly Sins relate to workplace productivity. These elements are staples of the Catholic faith and thought to cause eternal damnation for some. Although engaging in them at work probably won’t have such severe consequences, doing so isn’t likely to catch the attention of your boss in a way you’d prefer!

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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