5 Lessons on Team Productivity from The Simpsons
You’d even tolerate the end of the news (and maybe an episode of The Nanny) so long as you didn’t miss it.
This yellow, four-fingered family taught me many lessons in my youth.
From general ‘be yourself because people will probably still like you even though you’re a nerd’ kind of lessons to the more obscure ‘leave gummy lollies on your car seat and you’ll be accused of sexual harassment when you try to grab it off the butt of your unknowing babysitter.’
I’ve since strayed from my Simpsons addiction but can still attest to the lifelong lessons that are especially relevant in my role at the Garden. Most specifically, employee productivity.
Note: our American team members would have me believe the obsession is a solely Australian phenomenon. I like to think that Simpsons gifs are as universally relatable as it gets.
So, without further ado, here are five lessons about productivity that stem from my childhood obsession, The Simpsons.
1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew
This seems straightforward but is often overlooked. Whether we feel like we owe it to our team, our boss or ourselves, a long to-do list becomes the undoing of us all.
Not only is it ultimately unachievable, but you are creating an outlook that will hinder your progress because the end is never in reach.
In ‘Treehouse of Horror IV’: Homer sells his soul for a doughnut and is subsequently sent to hell to eat an endless supply of doughnuts, literally biting off more than he could possibly chew.
Don’t be Homer. Don’t sell your soul for a quick win. Handle your doughnuts with the care and respect they deserve.
Remember that they can always be heated in the microwave tomorrow so they still taste fresh even if you’re full today.
2. Don’t wear yourself thin
Any time you exceed your capacity to work, whether this is a mental or physical strain, you initiate a Snowball effect.
And by Snowball effect, I mean Snowball I, who we all know was flattened by a car and is about as thin as you can wear yourself down to.
3. Don’t leave your big tasks to the end of the day
Everyone loves a quick win. The endorphins from ticking things off your list in quick succession simply can’t be beaten (actual euphoria).
But at the end of the day, you’re forced to spend the rest of your time with the impending doom of an unwavering deadline stuck in your mind.
Just give yourself enough time to not freak out and do a damn good job without running out of time.
4. Avoid interrupting or being interrupted whenever possible
What to do if you’re the disturber:
- Evaluate how critical your question is. If it’s not going to affect the course of action today or even in the next few hours, hold off.
- Try instant messaging or emailing the person first. If they don’t respond within a few minutes, it’s most likely not a good time.
What to do if you’re the disturbee:
- Dedicate blocks of time to a task. You might even decide to establish this with your team so you’re all aware of when to avoid disruption.
- Don’t be afraid of Do Not Disturb mode. If you really need to get sh*t done, your team will understand and they will cope.
5. Don’t neglect your physical state
This seems a lot simpler than it actually is to execute. Make sure you eat a proper breakfast, take breaks, drink plenty of water and try to fit in exercise before you arrive in the morning.
You just need to keep at it for at least 21 days to make this a solid habit, and before you know it, it’s second nature.
Be at your peak to perform at your peak. Or else…
Whether you clicked on the blog post because you want to learn about productivity, or you’re here for the Simpsons references, let me leave you with this: the crux of it all is to give yourself the best chance of success.
Push yourself without wearing yourself out.