What is it about today’s society that makes people think that they need to fill their entire schedule with activities in order to have a productive day? And when did productive become synonymous with importance and superiority?
There’s a common misconception that I continue to hear lately, and that’s this underlying message that if you aren’t busy, then you are not accomplishing anything and if your schedule is not booked with back to back meetings or activities, then you lead a meaningless life.
Filling every minute of every day with tasks does not make a person productive. Setting goals and priorities for the day with the intent of accomplishing them is the objective behind productivity. As the old adage goes, “work smarter, not harder.”
Even more, productivity is subjective. We all have our own thoughts on what we deem “productive.” For example, five people attend a meeting, each person represents a different division… each person has a certain expectation of the meeting and is seeking a particular purpose or outcome. One person can walk away from that meeting feeling as though it was productive because they got what they needed, and the others not so much.
Productivity is individualistic in that every single person has their own peaks of productivity. Only I know when I am mentally able to sit for hours and write a report or when I am physically willing and able to go to the gym. For some people that’s 5 AM, for me that’s 5 PM. We each have peaks and valleys and different levels of productivity throughout the day… We all have that boss that sends emails at 2am. No one is judging! (Better an email than a phone call, right?!)
My point is… change your thinking about productivity, find your peaks and valleys, and don’t purposely overwhelm yourself with tasks. The end result of that is, plain and simple, burnout. We can only produce until we can no longer.