I’m not a big fan of the common term and idea of ‘productivity’ – although, admittedly, I get dragged into it’s addictive swirl and its persuasive charme of fulfilment.
Productivity as value
I read it all the time that people write how productive their day was and they get likes and thumbs-up for that. I catch myself saying to myself at the end of the day that this was a productive day and that I “should” feel proud and happy. And when I look around: In so many places, and especially in the work environment, people think productivity-driven and set productivity above all other values. The pressure to perform and produce is inherent and everywhere.
Productivity as worthiness
It’s almost a glorification: When you’re productive, you’ve made it. You deserve to stand on the podium in your shiny armour –– taddaaaa!!! Tightly connected to this – still – omnipresent perception is seeing productivity as a value itself, and we connect it to our worthiness. I often get the feeling: The more productive you are, the more are other people looking up to you. Same with being busy: the busier you are, the more honoured you are.
It’s a problem to be not productive
I am really surprised by how many women I read and hear about – women living a self-acclaimed conscious lifestyle, having their dream mindful businesses, appearing to have it all, and, in my eyes, being in the Zen with themselves all the time – they have a problem with stepping off the gas. They admit having a problem with pausing and taking a break from doing and being productive. To tell the truth, I was kind of shocked to hear this. These gorgeous, intelligent, empowered women are running and running, producing and producing – and here and there they are opening up, ready to admit that they need a break. That they have a weak spot when it comes to slowing down and just doing nothing for a couple of weeks.
I mean – how? Why?
To me it’s a clear sign that our society is still way too productivity-centred, and that’s why we so often – unconsciously or not – connect productivity to our own worth. If we’re not doing and producing results, we don’t feel well. – Honestly, this can only be total BS.
The above said is a generalisation, I’m well aware of that. Also, there might be a change in Western mindset on the rise, possibly having the power to dissolve this connection between productivity and value & worthiness step by step. For now, however, the link between productivity and worthiness seems unbroken. – Or are we already beyond that? What’s your feeling?
What are you truly looking for?
Have YOU ever had the feeling that you are producing and producing, but without going anywhere? Or that you had a super productive day, but felt drained or still overwhelmed instead of happy and proud of yourself at the end of it?
I go through these phases every now and then: I’m busy and productive, ticking the to-dos off my list. At the end of the day or at the end of the week, however, when I stop and reflect, I see that I crossed off a lot of tasks, but didn’t really do anything I truly WANT. Or I feel the urge to be up and running, when instead what I truly NEED would be a pause, a cuppa in the sunshine and just doing nothing.
To my mind it’s time to start looking at the term ‘productivity’ in a more mindful sense, and connect it to our life goals and the values that we cherish. We could call it “satisfying productivity”, maybe even coin it “mindful productivity” (very trendy and buzzwordy, don’t you think?). Think so, too? Read my tips for mindful productivity.
In need of an instant trick to get out the ever-faster spinning productivity wheel? –> Here you go:
Take a break. Taking a break always helps – be it a couple of weeks off, a single day or just ten minutes to breathe and clear your head. A break does magic, and the beneficial side effect: it’s restorative and healthy.
What do you think? How’s your take on productivity and how do you perceive “being productive”?