I was scrolling through Twitter today and came upon this post:
It got me thinking about what productivity really is.
Now, I think a key word in this post is "obsessed". Being obsessed with anything, not just productivity would most likely end up in some form of burnout. Obsession isn't usually a sustainable state no matter the subject.
But I think some people have trouble separating obsession and productivity, especially as of late.
There seems to have been an explosion, quite easily found on Twitter, of the feverish, hustle-culture, cold shower brand of "productivity".
Is that what it is?
Here's how Dictionary.com defines productivity:
the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services
One of the replies hits on two different types of productivity:
Here are what I see as the two types:
- Productivity: the rate of production, how much you are producing at any moment. Captured in a (tasks * difficulty)/time expression.
- Productivity: an entire body of one's accomplishments and works as a whole. Whether you have reached your end goal or overarching aspirations.
I tend to believe that Productivity #2 is the far more important and effective definition.
Anyone can buckle down and lock themselves in a room for a weekend to bash out a project. But that's not sustainable. And not a good habit to get into in terms of workflow. You wont build a quality body of work that way.
The biggest accomplishments and the highest level of "productivity" come from the little consistent steps taken day after day.
One of my favorite sayings is:
It's the little things, that turn into big things, that change your life.
Part of productivity is rest. Just like in weightlifting, where the true muscle growth happens in recovery, the same thing is true for being productive.
The true growth, creativity and spark happens when we are away from our work. Whether that be meditating, sleeping, laughing with friends, or walking in the woods.
Productivity is a long game, where the silence in between the beats is just as important, if not more so, than the tasks and projects we complete.
The more space we allow ourselves, the higher quality our work will be, the more we'll enjoy it, and the more longevity we will have to keep offering that work long past one weekend.