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Administrative overhead

I was slightly demoralized as I listened to Cal Newport describe slow productivity, and how working on less things at once actually leads to accomplishing much greater results. 

I was imagining running from my accounting office, to the field and onto the seed drill, then off to teach an afternoon at school, only to return to the seed drill once more. 

My life has been an eclectic, and often exciting lesson in diversity. Between teaching, accounting, and farming, there is no shortage of things to learn, and experiences to have.

Unfortunately, this also creates an amazing amount of ‘task-switching’, something that directly detracts from our human ability to focus and accomplish deep work.

Cal went on to describe a concept called ‘administrative overhead’, defined as all tasks not directly tied to the activity, yet required to complete an objective. 

Like the hours of paperwork required for each student field trip,

Or the plethora of daily emails in each of your email accounts. 

Or the outfit changes required to switch between field, classroom, and business settings.

As the commitments build, the administrative overhead accumulates, and hours disappear.

Critically assess the projects you take on, and be realistic of the time requirements. 

While it feels exciting to be ‘busy’, it’s time to be ‘productive’.

  • Now that’s a peak ethos 

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