This series looks at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.
When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992. If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.
WORK AND COUNTERPRODUCTIVITY
Workaholism causes problems in more than just the personal realm. "Keeping one's nose to the grindstone can hurt... business," concluded The Wall Street Journal in an article about workaholic entrepreneurs. "The protracted stress of fighting distraction, focusing intensely on dull details and working at protracted tasks fatigues the mind... The result: a rise in errors, troubles handling the public, more accidents, and declining workmanship."
As previously noted, perfectionists often have trouble starting projects, making decisions, and delegating tasks that could be better executed by others - all of which may easily do more damage than the good done during all those extra hours on the job. At the same time, the perfectionist's constant fault-finding is apt to dampen office morale.
<snip>...Fortune magazine described how a management consultant spent three days following one "hard-driving, bleary-eyed investment banker," recording in minute detail what the man did in the course of his interminable workdays. The consultant found that eighty percent of the Wall Streeter's activities turned out to be "busy work": redundant phone conversations, unnecessary meetings, time spent packing and unpacking his two bulging briefcases. All too often, no one looks at how effectively the workaholic is laboring, and yet that is ultimately much more important than the number of hours he spends on the job.
I worked with a young woman for a company once who was let go, and my boss described to me how once, when they were getting a delivery of new office furniture in, she told "Joan," to clear off her entire desk, empty the drawers, etc., so the old stuff could be removed, and the new installed. When she came back twenty minutes later, it appeared Joan had moved a stapler from one place to another, and nothing else.
That's churning - the mindless business of shuffling papers around, of re-reading the same email over and over, or trying to make sense of a spreadsheet with the same methods that aren't working.
At least when you churn butter, there's a delicious product at the end of it all.
Simply being at work, or sitting at a computer, does not necessarily mean you are being productive. (Trust me, I can offer plenty of personal experience on that one!)
I work with people who put in 12-14 hour days certain times of the year, but honestly? A lot of it is going over the same thing fruitlessly, over and over; or chatting on the phone for hours. They could probably get as much productive work done in ten. I've been in these round-robin e-mail loops where everyone is misunderstanding and it goes through six sends when the whole mess can be cleared up in 30 seconds of conference call.
(And as I type all this, I have firm plans to clean my desk at home - this week. Which plans I've had for several months, but still... my intention is NOT just to shove piles from one place to another.)
Is all your extra work really productive?
How much churning do you do?Your thoughts?