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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 September 11, 2019

    Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

    Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

    How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

    Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

    To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

    Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

    Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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    • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
    • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
    • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
    • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

    Benefits of Using a To-Do List

    However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

    • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
    • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
    • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
    • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
    • You feel more organized.
    • It helps you with planning.

    4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

    Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

    1. Categorize

    Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

    It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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    2. Add Estimations

    You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

    Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

    Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

    3. Prioritize

    To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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    • Important and urgent
    • Not urgent but important
    • Not important but urgent
    • Not important or urgent

    You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

    Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

    4.  Review

    To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

    For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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    Bottom Line

    So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

    To your success!

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    Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

    Reference

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