The Productivity Obsession: Can We Create More Space for Humanness? (link)
‘Productivity’ is a word that makes me (and other introverts/HSPs) squirm a little. I like to keep it at arm’s length…
Not because I don’t think it’s good to be productive, don’t get me wrong. I mean, I love working hard and getting stuff done.
But because it has become a bit of a cultural obsession; an obsession which often completely misses the point. Many times we focus on productivity itself. The doing more and becoming more efficient and like machines we are striving to be productive for productive’s sake.
The Distraction of Productivity
This can ironically distract us from what I believe productivity is really about: creating space and time around the edges for life to thrive.
You don’t have to look far online to find people offering all the solutions under the sun to keep you productive and focussed. But most of us don’t need advice on how to become more productive or tools to help us become more efficient.
I’ve been thinking about this word, ‘productivity’ a lot. This is partly inspired by a series of interviews Michael Hyatt conducted recently. He spoke to experts to look at aspects of productivity such as focus, sleep and energy, and getting things done.
I have a tendency to go on periodic productivity binges. Seasons when I will read books, watch videos, listen to interviews and obsess on new ways to be more productive in my work, life, and creativity. Unfortunately it’s rare that I read or hear what I really need to be told at moments like this…
“Turn this off and go and do what you know you need to do”.
Because the truth is, most of us instinctively know how to be productive. We don’t need to be told, but there is something quite nice about the procrastinatory reward of learning about productivity theories, tools, and techniques. It feels productive yet requires no hard action.
This question has come up again and again for me: Why productivity? To what ends? For what purpose? Where does it stop?
This has encouraged me to step back because when we pour productivity on short term thinking we fail to see the purpose in it all.
If we don’t have a deeper, positive purpose beyond the demands others place on us then we’re on a slippery slope. Welcome the regret, dissatisfaction and burnout.