Ask Tomino: Q.02 How Do I Be More Productive?

Q. As someone not good at getting things done, how to I learn to be more productive?

Tokyo Metro • Hanako • 23

I’m really hung up on something that’s been plaguing me. I got a job last spring, but all the task assigned to me don’t end up getting done within the day. I’m not trying to be slow; I put all I can into my job. But to everyone around me, it looks like I’m kicking back and marching to the beat of my own drum, which irritates them.

Thinking about it, I’ve had this problem since I was a kid. Whenever everyone would do homework together or change into our gym clothes, I was always the last one to finish. I know it’s not a motor skills problem (I always placed 1st or 2nd in class races). It has to be that I’m no good at getting things done. I realize, Mr. Tomino, in all of your TV anime, you work against the clock and I want to be able to work quickly within a time limit. I would be happy if you could give me any tip or advice.

A. If you don’t honestly think you have to change yourself, then there is no way for you be productive!

I’m not able to answer based solely on what you’ve written. That is to say, what you’ve written is only from your point of view.

Your motor skills aren’t bad, and yet you irritate the people you work with, from just this I can’t say that you aren’t productive. I don’t think that is where your problem is though — it’s something more than that.

This is just a guess, but I believe you are the kind of person that forgives yourself of your wrongdoings, it’s a curse. You might be fundamentally impertinent. If you’ve deemed your current situation acceptable, and are giving it your best effort, you might just not have the willpower to get things done efficiently. When talking to people like you, I don’t really feel like earnestly giving advice.

Hanako, you’re twenty-three-years-old, right? At twenty-three you’ve already become an adult, correct? Most likely you only noticed your poor performance once you got a job, which means, for the past twenty-two years you have, instead, not thought seriously about this at all. Lately, the trend at elementary and middle schools is to forego bullying class dunces so to foster a pleasant environment, which causes them to conduct themselves in an unproductive way. That’s no good. I imagine living without that, the environment you’ve spent in up to today could be considered a “lukewarm” environment. Within that lukewarm water there is no way you could have had a chance to fix your productivity, so for me to try and teach you the how-to would probably be a waste, would it not? This is all pretty harsh for me to say, but it’s my answer.

I have a reason for going so far with this. The problem with your productivity is, above all, a problem with you, and not one concerning those around you. This is about fixing you. Reading my answer, if you feel angry or pitiful, this feeling is yours alone. You have to cultivate the seed of self-awareness, there is no prescription to get better in this case.

One more thing, the reason I felt ok with choosing such a relentless attitude is that somehow or another, you are getting your job done. You’re sure to have some kind of epiphany after understanding what I’ve said. So please, discover how to be productive. If not, you’ll be in trouble again when you turn thirty.


August 2010

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