Productivity secrets and life hacks are great. At least, I love them.
I often find myself browsing online and clicking on nearly every link promising life changing “hacks” to make my days more productive and easier. When I scan through an article I find myself thinking - wow! these could actually work!
Every once in a blue moon I may actually apply one to my life - sometimes to great success.
One of my favorite “hacks” is making layered salads in mason jars for the week. Saves so much time and money later in the week. Gives me an easy, healthy, go-to lunch everyday, and means I have one less decision to make at 6am- which is always appreciated.
So I love these things. And honestly, I think much of the first world does as well.
Who doesn’t want tools to help us make less daily decisions, get things done in less time and with less stress?
So what is wrong with these?
Well fundamentally nothing. In fact, the more clever ideas can help people, the better.
However, I would argue that what is wrong is not the ideas themselves, but what they represent.
Ultimately, the popularity of these ideas shows us that we live in a society that prizes productivity and getting more done in less time.
“Well, duh…” you might say, “whats wrong with that?”
Well nothing - until it gets in the way of resting and down time.
The problem I see is that we so badly want to get more and more done that when we reach a point emotionally, physically and/or mentally when we need a break - we struggle to actually give ourselves a break without overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame. We feel guilty about off time. We feel FOMO (fear of missing out) for fear of missing something fun. On sick days we find ourselves still working - just from home.
There is something wrong with this.
When our bodies reach the point where we get signals to slow down and rest we need to listen, respond and honor them.
Instead, we see this as weakness and as something that we can work or play through.
Side Note: Going and doing fun things whether playing a sport, hiking, going out for drinks - as much as they can be rejuvenating to a certain extent - these things still do not count as rest because you come home just as exhausted, if not more so than when you left.
So what do I propose?
I propose that we give ourselves PERMISSION.
We give our society and our friends permission to take a break.
Rather than guilt our friends into joining us when they tell us they need a day off - we should respect it and tell them we both understand and are impressed they are taking care of themselves.
Rather than reach out to coworkers on their sick days to see if they are well enough to get some work done - we should encourage them to turn off their cell phones and email and allow themselves to fully recover for work the following day.
Rather than beat ourselves up over not getting the to do list done on a Saturday - we should respect our bodies and the innate understanding they have about our needs - and remember that anything that needs to get done can be completed the following day when our energy is back to normal.
And when we find ourselves craving a nap rather than a run on a Thursday afternoon- we should be willing to listen to that as well (within certain reason - we don’t want nap time taking over exercise).
Because ultimately if we give ourselves the time we so deeply crave to rest and be still and truly recover - we can and will be stronger than we can ever imagine when we reemerge fully recharged.
So what do you say?
Lets make a pact with one another to consciously choose to run on full battery rather than half. Lets make the intentional effort to no longer guilt ourselves or others when they need a day off and be willing to listen to the cues our bodies are giving us day in and day out.
Because I can only imagine how awesome this world could be if everyone were fully engaged and living life to their fullest.
In the comments tell me, what are your thoughts on productivity and how does it hurt or help you in your day to day life?