Day by day reality demands that we be faster, taller, stronger, work more, and most importantly – more productive, more efficient, more productive. We run to work, then pick up our children to give them to ten circles, while doing assignments in one of our classes, playing slots casino during breaks, reading or listening to audiobooks in transport, so that we fall asleep in the evening. Children’s hobbies, our hobbies, meetings with friends turn into projects with measurable indicators of progress. Something’s wrong, don’t you think?
What Is Productivity
Productivity is the ability to produce a unit of output in a specific amount of time. And the more we can do, the better. Productivity is approved by society.
At the same time, it has been proven that the brain is not capable of staying in intense concentration mode for more than 90-120 minutes, which should be followed by a pause. This means that being productive 24/7 is at least physically impossible.
Dependence on Productivity
Being busy is a good thing, hardly anyone would argue with that. When we accomplish a task, we feel satisfaction. If the action is reinforced by rewards (finances, recognition, gratitude, etc.), the brain gets a dopamine response-it turns achieving the result into pleasure. However, the brain gets used to this response and requires an increasingly stronger stimulus to receive dopamine. As a result, we work harder, but we are increasingly unsatisfied with the result.
And then inflated demands for our own productivity seep into all areas of life:
- Learning and development.
Sure, you can try to read Harry Potter in 40 minutes, but is the point just to get to the last page?
The Harm of Productivity
There is a timeline that assesses mastery of a skill. For example, to go from intermediate to advanced level of English, you need to devote 600 hours of intensive, thoughtful work, that is, to practice for about 3 hours a day for a year. It turns out that for the result you need to work, but not always do a lot is enough because the point is not how much effort you put, but where.
Productivity itself has no negative consequences, but being fixated on results encourages people to opt for simple and routine tasks with guaranteed results. For example, you’re quick and easy with a free online image editor. This simple skill allows you to consistently produce graphics of a certain level of complexity in a familiar amount of time. And you don’t even try to learn the more intense functionality of Photoshop to accomplish this task, because you regret the time.
Besides, it’s proven that monotony and routine destroy our brain and increase anxiety. By getting used to doing something automatically, albeit with unchanging quality, we stop forming neural connections and often feel dissatisfied.
Signs of an Obsession With Productivity
- You associate yourself with your work: you are bad if the results are unsatisfactory; you are not there if progress has stopped.
- In any situation, you’ll opt for work: friends’ birthdays or a child’s kindergarten performance can be skipped, but not a work meeting.
- You feel like you’re wasting time on a walk, in line, or on the road.
- You try to plan every hour of your day and feel stressed if something comes up all of a sudden.
- You feel guilty if you don’t accomplish a list of tasks or goals, regardless of their importance.
- You’re in a hurry to get somewhere all the time.
How to Find Balance
Stop and analyze your values. Pick 2-3 areas of your life and decide what you want to achieve. Try to return daily to what is important to you at that moment, checking any incoming information and opportunities against your inner compass. Priorities can change, so it’s best to revisit your values every six months.
Create opportunities for yourself to relax. Activities for the soul fill you up and give you a resource for new accomplishments in the areas that matter. It can be painting or contemplating green leaves, which will definitely not be a waste of time.
Evaluate your results. Benchmark your progress and compare yourself to yourself to really understand how productive you are.
Being productive means completing many tasks, which is not synonymous with efficiency, which is measured by quality. Don’t strive to be productive always and in everything, allow yourself to make mistakes and failures, because this is an important part of learning.
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