Every time I connect to the internet or walk into a bookstore, someone wants me to read or buy or think about ways to increase my productivity and efficiency. There are planners, rituals, apps, books, and systems that will maximize every day for the optimum output.
And I’ll tell you, I am a sucker for them all. I love a planner, I love a good life hack, and if your headline looks like this: “Eight Top Tips for Productivity from Experts in the Field,” I will click on it.
I believe in living a productive life. I believe in making the most of what your gifts. And yet…
What’s the real goal? Is the goal to win at being productive? Because there’s no ribbon for that. Is the goal to get through all these things to do so you can make more room for all the other things to do? I mean, yes, sometimes. I definitely fall into the trap of getting things done for the sake of getting things done. It makes me feel like I’m moving forward.
This morning, I unexpectedly had the opportunity to spend time with my 16-month-old niece, who lives in another city. Many of the “productivity gurus” I read would say that the morning ritual and work have to happen, no matter what, in order to promote habit-building or something. But if my intention is to be present to opportunity, to deeply invest in the relationships in my life, and yes, to make the most of what I can offer the world, then some days all that productivity is going to, intentionally and with deliberation, go by the wayside.
I have to remember, and maybe you do too, what all this carefully engineered productivity is in service of. For me, it’s in service of a more intentional life, spent serving others and being with the people I love.