“When we’re busy, we feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and depleted. When we’re PRODUCTIVE, we instead feel motivated, accomplished, and energized.”
– AMBER CURTIS, PHD
One of the many wake-up calls I’ve had in recent years is the realization that there’s a huge difference between being “busy” and actually being “productive.” For so long, I was overwhelmed because I could never seem to find time for everything I needed—let alone WANTED—to do. I felt like I was working nonstop, giving every ounce of energy to my never-ending list of tasks and yet somehow never gaining traction on my big-picture goals and ambitions. Every day would fly by and more times than not I’d feel like I had literally nothing to show for how exhausted I was.
At some point, I recognized that there had to be a better way. (And, of course, there is.) I’ve learned so much since then.
Google defines “to produce” as “to cause a particular result or situation to happen or come into existence.” It then defines productivity as, “the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.” What’s key here, then, are the following:
- Productivity is inherently about how we spend our time. “Success” (in whatever way WE define it) is measured by the results (aka output) we obtain for the life force (aka input) we put into it. We’re always exerting time and energy on something…but if it’s not specifically aimed towards whatever truly matters to US, then we’re not making progress.
- Time is a zero-sum game. It always involves a tradeoff: we do one thing at the expense of something else we could (or should) be doing. There’s only so much of it to go around and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Time spent on one thing inherently comes at the cost of something else we could (or should) be doing. It’s then crucial that we choose how we spend our time wisely.
- Productivity without PURPOSE is useless. We’re only effective if we know ahead of time what we’re trying to accomplish and why. We must ensure that the “output” we’re producing is actually moving us closer to that end goal.
- Productivity is thus about being as efficient as we can in doing what we MUST so we have more time and energy for who and what we LOVE.
Let me quickly step back and emphasize something important. None of this is meant to suggest that productivity is IN ANY WAY tied to your self-worth, value, and belonging. You are enough, exactly as you are! There is nothing you EVER need to “do” in order to be “worthy”; you were born that way!
The only reason productivity matters is because by being as productive as we can be, we ensure that we’re freeing up as much time as we can for what matters TO US. That’s it! This is only about YOU: what YOU want, how YOU aspire to live.
The reason we SHOULD be productive is so don’t waste our precious time on things that aren’t important. And the only person who gets to define what that is is YOU. Each of us knows deep down whether what we’re doing is a “good” use of our time or not. None of us is perfect, but we could all stand to take control of our time and use it more effectively so that we feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from truly living out your priorities. I’m right here on that journey with you!!!
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