Maximizing Productivity

Wait – if you came here for productivity advice, I don’t want to lead you astray.  This is in fact the opposite of that.

The pendulum has swung too far.  We have taken the idea of productivity to the extreme.  We are looking to squeeze the extra 15 seconds out of everything.  Checking your email waiting in line at the store.  Surfing facebook while you are sitting at the doctor.  Or even playing candy crush while your kids play in the same room.

What is the purpose of it all?  Spending every waking little minute doing, doing, doing.

What happened to all the still space we used to have in our lives?  The hours of just play we spent as kids.  And the type of play that doesn’t involve technology or competition.  Just skipping rocks and looking for little minnows in the creek.  Building forts in the house during a rainstorm.  Those are the lasting memories of my childhood.

But now?  It’s about squeezing in extra into our day.  Leaving every minute planned to the T.  And any chance we get a minute to just sit and think, we race to numb.  We don’t want to be with our own thoughts.  We want technology to take those thoughts away.  Just surf.  Consume more.  Read one more email.

I know I have a tendency to take productivity to the extreme.  To want to constantly be doing something stimulating or consuming in some way.

But more and more, I have come to appreciate the stillness in my life.  The engaged time spent with my wife and kids.  The time spent reading a book rather than surfing the web or watching TV.

It’s quiet.  I can be with my own thoughts.  I am not racing around or constantly anxious that I have forgotten to do something.

And as a result, I am actually more productive.  I get more done during the day when I am more focused in the way I go about it.

So rather than race to fill every minute of every day, let’s work on cultivating more stillness in our lives.

And in turn, with the stillness, we start to gain clarity on how to be more productive in ways that truly matter.


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