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Special User Sections > The Getting Organized Experiment of 2009

Why Trying to be Productive is a Huge Waste of Time

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app103:
Most of the time, trying to be productive is pointless. In fact, it’s a big, fat waste of time. It’s kind of lame when time management (productivity techniques & hacks) ends up killing your time, huh? Here’s why this happens…

For a long time I’ve thought about why people are so crazy about productivity. I’ve wondered why I am so concerned with accomplishing and completing. I mean, when you get to the point of looking for more time-efficient ways to fold underwear, you might have a problem.

So why does productivity matter, anyway? What’s so important about achieving?

The answer… not much.

The feeling of needing to accomplish something stems from dissatisfaction with the present. With this mindset, the whole idea of achieving is to become something. On the surface, it may seem like you’re doing something positive, but there’s a subtle undercurrent of rejection of what is. Rejection of yourself.
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http://www.illuminatedmind.net/2009/02/17/why-trying-to-be-productive-is-a-huge-waste-of-time/

app103:
He is right about it being easy to have a productivity meltdown when one becomes too preoccupied with being more productive.

And if he is right about rejection of ones self, then it really explains the one I had. Rejection of myself isn't exactly what I need in my life...what I need is quite the opposite.

I was trying to fix something that wasn't broken, and we all know what happens when you try to do that.  :-[

I didn't need todo lists and faster more efficient ways to get things done. Drudging through daily lists of things you really don't want to do is no way to live life and be happy.

I am most productive when I am inspired, and that only seems to come from doing things that most people would call unproductive and a complete waste of time. Sure, it might look like I am wasting my time when you see me playing games, but since you don't live inside my head, you really could not possibly know what is going on in there. I am constantly brainstorming something, and if left alone to do what it is I feel like doing at any given moment, the chances of brainstorming up some great idea that leads to me getting some actual work done is more likely to happen.

I am an explorer, a wanderer that hops from task to task, I start a lot of things that never end up finished, and there is a good reason for that. I get a vision in my head of what it is I want to accomplish and unless I can see it clearly, I can not fully accomplish it. I'll go as far as I can go, then shelf it for later, in case I can see clearly enough to finish it. Sometimes I do, but more often I don't. And that clear vision that I need in order to finish isn't something that I can force. You can't put that on a todo list. I can not turn creativity on & off like a faucet. I can not find answers to questions I can't even ask.

Using someone else's time management methods just does not work for me. I really don't need to manage my time. I just need to spend it doing what I do best, which is whatever I please. So I might start 500 projects and only finish 1, but that's 1 more than I'll get done if I am forced to complete the other 499, first.

I am at my best when I have no goal, no plan, just living in the moment, doing whatever it is that I feel like doing at that moment. I accomplish more this way, and I am happier while doing it. Yes, I do get all the important stuff done, and a whole lot more. And if it doesn't get done, it really wasn't that important to me. And that's ok. (believing that it's ok is part of accepting, rather than rejecting myself)



The most time efficient way to fold underwear is to not fold them at all. It doesn't matter if they are folded or not, so why bother wasting any time folding them? It makes more sense to me to just toss them all in a box in a drawer and consider it done.

AndyM:
Another drain on one's "productivity" is explaining to anyone else the nature of one's "productivity".

(and stay out of my head Scary Taskbar Girl  ;D)

Gothi[c]:
Couldn't have said it any better myself, app :)
That's how I always felt about the entire 'productivity' gtd mumbojumbo too :D

Stoic Joker:
Loved the article, thank you.

Trying to plan every second of your day is a great way to create stress. The only thing I plan on is that something will go wrong - I don't know what it will be, or when it will happen, I just plan on rolling with it when it arrives (e.g. Shit does not Happen on a time table).

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