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How Do the Seven Deadly Sins Relate to Workplace Productivity?

How Do the Seven Deadly Sins Relate to Workplace Productivity?

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 10, 2020

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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