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“Avoid extreme time pressures” (From this list.)

I actually laughed out loud then I read this given I have been lamenting the extreme time pressures everyone seems to labour under in Singapore. The goal is admirable and I agree wholeheartedly. It dose not take a genius to figure out how extreme time pressures can negatively result in an organisation’s inability to innovate.

The reality is, for most people in most businesses, it is hard enough to simply stay on top of their daily to-do lists, without having to engage in uncomfortable personal development and disruptive organisational change.

Time-poor does not even begin to describe the amount of time many people I know spend at work – in both Sydney and Singapore. I have heard Hong Kong is even worse. I don’t want to imagine what that would be like.

There is clearly a trend in hiring as few people as possible to do as much work as possible. The globalised market, the ever-decreasing attention span of the global population, the rise of the sense of entitlement, all seems to fuel crazier deadlines and unending demands.

As Ingrid Bacci wrote in her book The Art of Effortless Living – we are stuck in an results-obsessed vicious cycle. The underlying fear is that if we do not continue to generate output, to meet the expectations placed on us (or that we choose to take on), we will somehow fail to be worthy. We believe that we must always be busy so as to be of value!

Until businesses decide it is ok to have reasonable work hours, and downtime, and play time (to invest in creative blue-sky pursuits), this pattern will not change. There is already a move towards this with people like Stefan Sagmeister advocating the value of The power of time off.

In businesses and cultures where this pattern is entrenched, radical change is inconceivable.