Being productive means working less

Guide your people and stop rewarding busyness

Raphaël Reiter


Business and productivity By stokkete via

“I can’t call a person a hard worker just because I hear they read and write, even if working at it all night. Until I know what a person is working for, I can’t deem them industrious… I can if the end they work for is their own ruling principle, having it be and remain in constant harmony with Nature.” — Epictetus

There has been a recurrent theme in business circles in the last few years and led by companies in the tech industry, mainly the silicon valley, that breaks the myth that: the more you work, the more you are productive. It is a prominent myth, for when you take it literally, productivity is about what you produce and in what quantity, not how many meetings you attend, emails you receive, and the busyness you tell people about in front of your virtual water cooler of choice.

As a leader, you can help people deal with their overwhelming busyness by simply laying things down, reducing the tasks to only what’s essential — less work, more productivity. Guide your team. I would advise you, as a leader, to do that: when an employee is saying she is too busy, ask, busy doing what? And remove all the useless stuff. Add this to your company’s vision, and goals: The busier you are or show to be doesn’t reflect your value. Maybe it’s just poor organization. Perhaps it’s weak boundaries. Perhaps it’s lousy decision-making and prioritization. Those are not traits you want in your organization, so help them grow and constantly ask:

What’s important now?

What am I doing, and why am I doing it?

What is the possible outcome, and what are the potential obstacles?

What’s the plan?

Originally published on



Raphaël Reiter

Continuously learning about life. Passionate about philosophy. Certified life coach and meditation teacher.