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The Dangers of Productivity

I am pretty sure this is not something most people feel. When I see the word productivity, my brain lights up and I think yes. Now the culture of America would probably say this is a good thing, great productivity, produce produce produce. This is in fact the problem for me. I want to produce continuously without purpose. I want to seek and find without end. I want to do all the things. This is partially my natural inclination, but also this is a coping method. I avoid by doing. I numb by doing. I see the world as a number of tasks to be completed and checked off. And when I say I do this I mean I do this with everything, purpose of a bath- cleanliness, purpose of reading- to finish the book. The world is filled with things and at some point I started to believe it was my job to do them, to do all of them. I have only recently and slowly started to realize, I can’t do them… all. It is hard for me to even type the words. Part of this comes from the ego that I need to be better than everyone, and part of it comes from a lack of self confidence and as a way of proving myself to myself. This as it turns out is a vicious cycle, with the trigger word being productivity. I am sure this is not the story for everyone, my husband does not have this same issue, but I have started to become wary of the word productivity. I question productivity to what end, to what purpose. Why? I am still working on finding the answer to this question.

This idea of a checklist of productivity comes into play in many areas of my life. Vacations have been times I need to remind myself to slow down. I get into this checklist mentality where I want to do all the things, and then my vacation exhausts me. The best example of this is on my honeymoon, I realized doing it all was exhausting and I ended up spending an entire day in a hotel to recuperate. I have to learn that I cannot do all the things and instead be present with what I am choosing to spend my time on. My brother-in-law once said that he sees people taking photos and mentally going check, done, moving on. Got it! Check!

Hoover Dam Standard Photo - 1.jpg

Clearly, I am writing this because it also applies to me. I have some standard place photos, like my Hoover Dam one above. I need this as a reminder as well. Our society encourages productivity, more more more. Instead I think we need to come to terms with the idea that we will not do it all. Would we rather check the boxes or enjoy what we are doing and be where we are? I understand the struggle of not appreciating where we are in life yet. We think after I finish ______ that is when life will start, I do it too, but when I stop and reflect I realize that is not the case. I have a good friend who says that we are doing life now, THIS IS LIFE. All of it, the mess before the thing the mess after the thing. Each moment is part of how we are choosing to live our life. I think if we deeply understood that we would live our lives differently, spend less time impressing others and more time being ourselves, and the world would be a better place for it. So if you need my permission you have it, slow down, do less, but be more present, be more aware and realize this is life we are living every moment.

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