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美文:忙碌而无为

2014-12-23    来源:chinadaily    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

美文:忙碌而无为

If You’re Always Working, You’re Never Working Well

回想一下,自己有没有这样的时候:明明一直都在工作,甚至还牺牲了休息、生活、娱乐等时间,但自己的工作效率却并不高,而且还觉得越来越累?其实,总是工作的人,未必就真的会工作。人的精力时间总是有限的,抓住最有效的工作时间才是上乘之选,而非埋头苦干,陷入死循环。

Recently a series of reports appeared online in the United States and the United Kingdom lamenting 1 the “lazy French.” A new labor law in France had apparently banned 2 organizations from e-mailing their employees after 6 p.m. In fact, it?turned out to be?more a case of “lazy journalists” than “lazy French”: as?The Economist explained, the “law” was not a law at all but a labor agreement aimed at improving health among a specific group of professionals, and there wasn’t even a hard curfew for digital communication.3

Like all myths, however, this one revealed a set of abiding values subscribed to by the folk who perpetuated it.4 Brits?and Americans have long suspected that?the French (and others) are?goofing off while they—the good corporate soldiers—continue to?toil away.5 They’re proud about it too. A Gallup poll 6, released in May, found that most U.S.?workers see?their constant?connection with office mates as a positive. In the age of the smartphone, there’s no such thing as “downtime,” and we profess to be happier—and more productive—for it.

7Are we, though? After?reviewing?thousands of books, articles and papers on the topic and interviewing dozens of experts in fields from?neurobiology and psychology to education and literature,8 I don’t think so. When we accept this new and permanent ambient workload—checking business?news?in bed or responding to coworkers’ emails during breakfast—we may believe that we are dedicated, tireless workers.9 But, actually, we’re mostly just getting the small, easy things done. Being busy does not equate to being effective.


And let’s not forget about ambient play, which often distracts 10 us from accomplishing our most important tasks. Facebook and Twitter report that their sites are most active?during office hours. After all, the employee who’s required to respond to her boss on Sunday morning will think nothing of 11 responding to friends on Wednesday afternoon. And?research shows?that these digital derailments are costly: it’s not only?the minutes lost responding to a tweet?but also the time and energy required to?“reenter” the original task.12?As?Douglas Gentile, a professor at Iowa State University who studies the effects of media on attention spans13, explains, “Everyone who thinks they’re good at multitasking is wrong. We’re actually multiswitching [and] giving ourselves extra work.”

Each shift of focus sets our brain back and creates a cumulative attention debt, resulting in a harried workforce incapable of producing sustained burst of creative energy.14 Constant connection means that we’re?“always at work”, yes, but also that we’re “never at work”—fully.

People and organizations?looking for brave new ideas or significant critical thinking need to?recognize that?disconnection is therefore sometimes preferable to connection. You don’t ask a jogger?who just ran six miles?to compete in a sprint, so why would you?ask an executive?who’s been?answering?a pinging phone all morning?to deliver top-drawer content at his next meeting?15

Some parts of the workforce do?rely on?constant real-time?communication 16. But others should demand and be given?proper breaks from the digital maelstrom 17. Batch-processing 18 email is one easy solution. Do it a few times a day and reserve the rest of your time for real work. Most colleagues and clients will survive without a response for three hours, and if it’s truly urgent 19, they can pick up the phone.

The great tech historian Melvin Kranzberg said, “technology is neither good nor bad, nor is it neutral.” That statement should become a real tenet 20 of the information age. I don’t advocate?abstinence or blanket rules like that fictional post-6 p.m. email ban.21 However, I do?think our?cult 22 of connectivity has gone too far. We can’t keep falling prey to ambient work or play. Instead, we must actively decide on our?level of tech engagement at different times to maximize productivity, success, and happiness.

1. lament: 叹息

2. curfew: 宵禁

3. abiding value: 不变的价值观

4. perpetuate: 使不朽,保持

5. Gallup poll: 盖洛普民意调查,美国民意调查机构。因1935年由G.盖洛普创办该所而得名

6. 在智能手机的时代中,不存在所谓的“停工期”。我们自称更加快乐,更有工作成效。downtime: 停工期;profess: 自称,公开表示

7. distract: 使分心

8. think nothing of: 把……视为平常

9. 研究表明,这些“数字脱轨”的成本很高:一方面,回复推特要花费时间;另一方面,重新投入到之前的工作中也需要时间和精力。derailment: 脱轨

10. attention span: (心理) 意力广度,注意力的持续时间

11. maelstrom: 漩涡

12. batch-processing: 批量处理的

13. tenet: 原则。

14. abstinence: 节制

15. blanket: 一概而论的

(ChinaDaily)



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