April 10, 2015

Burning Daylight

I'm going to say something unpopular:

Productivity is overrated.   

And this comes from someone who is a sucker for articles on productivity and how to squeeze every little last task and to-do in. But there is this sickingly prevalent sentiment of "you aren't doing enough in the 24 hours allotted to you" which makes me extraordinarily sad.

A lot of the talk around productivity revolves around work. A traditional work week is five 8-hour days, but who actually adheres to a mere 40-hours on a flexible schedule? Most people I know go in early, stay late, and often even work at home after hours. This dredges up the popular work-life balance argument, but my displeasure with this system goes beyond that.

Deep at the root of all this lives this need to always be better and do more and prove that we can do everything. "Going beyond" has become the expectation. Which, on a lot of levels, is really neat. We aren't easily satisfied. We aren't quick to be complacent. But then, we are slow to reward, slow to be satisfied... slow to slow down.

There is always more to do. More to craft. More to code. More to clean. More to write. More to invent. More to process.

And what we lose with this attitude is actually not small. On a physical level, this causes stress which is proven to be averse to your health. It messes with your sleep because we stare at screens more, stay up later, and get up earlier. But on a bigger level, we actually lose our passion and creativity and child-like wonder of what is already around us and what already exists. We lose our stillness and appreciation of what is.

At the end of the day, I am prone to think about all the to-do list items that didn't get done, or all the to-do list items that are waiting for me on the other side of my sleep. But I want to come home, make a cup of tea, and have an agenda-less evening... And be happy with where I'm at, what I've done, and what's to come.