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  • John Turner

What's your widget?

In the early 20th Century time and motion studies were emerging in American factories, measuring performance and efficiency (see scientific management, Taylor). The common business studies example uses widgets as an example of a product that is made and sold for profit. Since then it is not just factories that are striving for efficiency and productivity. Much of modern day personal efficiency and productivity literature can be traced back to these early days. The spill over from business management, to personal development seeps into our daily lives and decisions we make. However, it is worth pausing to consider what it is that we are individually working to achieve. What is your widget? What are the activities/widgets that we are trying to do/make quicker in order to achieve 'profit'? What is the 'profit' we are trying to squeeze out of our personal lives? An example that springs to mind for me is physical fitness and injury. Over the last two years I have less personal time available due to starting a family. I have always enjoyed fitness and have tried to maintain a similar level of training. I have squeezed this into my day. I have tried to multi-task, speed up other tasks and generally fit more in. To some extent this has worked. I have surprised myself with what I can achieve. However, I have also sustained more injuries than I have ever previously had. Now what have I gained? I have had small 'peaks' of high fitness, but then long 'dips' of injury. Through my efficiency and productivity to do more fitness/ to make more widgets I have lost sight of the 'profit' I was trying ultimately trying to achieve. Wellbeing. Sometimes life requires us to deploy some scientific business management techniques for working more efficiently and productively. However, other times the 'profit' we are trying to achieve is not so quantifiable. It is more holistic and three dimensional. Developing the skill to see the difference is something that I am still trying to improve. #productivity #wellbeing #holistic

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