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How burnout makes us less creative

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    A few years ago, my obsession
    with productivity
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    got so bad that I suffered
    an episode of burnout
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    that scared the hell out of me.
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    I'm talking insomnia,
    weight gain, hair loss -- the works.
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    I was so overworked that my brain
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    literally couldn't come up
    with another idea.
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    That indicated to me that my identity
    was linked with this idea of productivity.
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    [The Way We Work]
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    Do you feel guilty if you haven't
    been productive enough during the day?
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    Do you spend hours
    reading productivity hacks,
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    trying new frameworks
    and testing new apps
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    to get even more done?
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    I've tried them all --
    task apps, calendar apps,
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    time-management apps,
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    things that are meant to manage your day.
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    We've been so obsessed with doing more
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    that we've missed
    the most important thing.
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    Many of these tools aren't helping.
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    They're making things worse.
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    OK, let's talk about
    productivity for a second.
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    Historically, productivity
    as we know it today
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    was used during the industrial revolution.
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    It was a system that measured performance
    based on consistent output.
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    You clocked into your shift
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    and were responsible
    for creating X number of widgets
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    on the assembly line.
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    At the end of the day,
    it was pretty easy to see
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    who worked hard and who hadn't.
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    When we shifted to a knowledge economy,
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    people suddenly had tasks
    that were much more abstract,
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    things like writing,
    problem-solving or strategizing,
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    tasks that weren't easy to measure.
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    Companies struggled to figure out
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    how to tell who was working
    and who wasn't,
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    so they just adopted
    the old systems as best as they could,
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    leading to things
    like the dreaded time sheet
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    where everyone is under pressure
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    to justify how they spend
    every second of their day.
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    There's just one problem.
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    These systems don't make a lot of sense
    for creative work.
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    We still think of productivity
    as an endurance sport.
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    You try to churn out as many blog posts
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    or we cram our day full of meetings.
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    But this model of constant output
    isn't conducive to creative thought.
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    Today, knowledge workers
    are facing a big challenge.
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    We're expected to be constantly
    productive and creative
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    in equal measure.
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    But it's actually almost impossible
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    for our brains to continuously
    generate new ideas
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    with no rest.
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    In fact, downtime
    is a necessity for our brain
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    to recover and to operate properly.
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    Consider that according
    to a team of researchers
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    from the University
    of Southern California,
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    letting our minds wander
    is an essential mental state
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    that helps us develop our identity,
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    process social interactions,
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    and it even influences
    our internal moral compass.
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    Our need for a break flies in the face
    of our cultural narrative about hustling,
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    in other words, the stories
    that we as a society
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    tell each other
    about what success looks like
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    and what it takes to get there.
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    Stories like the American Dream,
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    which is one of our most
    deeply rooted beliefs.
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    This tells us that if we work hard,
    we'll be successful.
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    But there's a flip side.
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    If you aren't successful,
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    it must mean that you're not
    working hard enough.
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    And if you don't think
    you're doing enough,
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    of course you're going to stay
    late, pull all-nighters
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    and push yourself hard
    even when you know better.
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    Productivity has wrapped
    itself up in our self-worth,
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    so that it's almost impossible
    for us to allow ourselves
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    to stop working.
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    The average US employee only takes half
    of their allocated paid vacation leave,
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    further proving
    that even if we have the option
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    to take a break, we don't.
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    To be clear, I don't
    think that productivity
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    or trying to improve
    our performance is bad.
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    I'm just saying that the current models
    we're using to measure our creative work
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    don't make sense.
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    We need systems
    that work with our creativity
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    and not against it.
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    [SO HOW DO WE FIX IT?]
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    There is no quick fix for this problem.
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    And I know, I know, that sucks.
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    No one loves a good framework
    or a good acronym
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    better than me.
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    But the truth is everyone
    has their own narratives
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    that they have to uncover.
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    It wasn't until I started digging
    around my own beliefs around work
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    that I began to unravel
    the root of my own work story,
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    finally being able to let go
    of destructive behaviors
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    and make positive, long-lasting changes.
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    And the only way to do that
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    is by asking yourself some hard questions.
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    Does being busy make you feel valuable?
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    Who do you hold up
    as an example of success?
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    Where did your ideas
    of work ethic come from?
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    How much of who you are
    is linked to what you do?
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    Your creativity, it has its own rhythms.
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    Our energy fluctuates daily,
    weekly, even seasonally.
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    I know that I'm always more energetic
    at the beginning of the week
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    than at the end,
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    so I front-load my workweek
    to account for that fact.
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    As a proud night owl, I free up
    my afternoons and evenings
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    for creative work.
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    And I know I'll get more writing done
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    in the cozy winter months
    than during the summer.
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    And that's the secret.
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    Dismantling myths,
    challenging your old views,
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    identifying your narratives --
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    this is the real work
    that we need to be doing.
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    We aren't machines,
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    and I think it's time
    that we stopped working like one.
タイトル:
How burnout makes us less creative
話者:
Rahaf Harfoush
概説:

Our obsession with productivity -- to-do lists, life hacks, morning routines -- is making us less productive, says digital anthropologist Rahaf Harfoush. She explains why we need to redesign our workday around creativity -- not just efficiency.

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Video Language:
English
Team:
closed TED
プロジェクト:
TED Series
Duration:
04:51

English subtitles

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