Redefining Productivity To Fit Your Life’s Goals

It is tough being ambitious and lazy at the same time. Living in a state of constant flux doesn’t do my mind any favors. The battle between the goal-getter and a vibing hippie never seems to end.

This is an example of the inner monologue that is happening inside my head literally every day. “I want to be productive and write my fanfic pieces. However, they aren’t generating any income, so wouldn’t it be more productive to go and write for a paying client? But with freelance work comes a totally different set of responsibilities. Instead of pouring my heart on paper, I’m stuck researching keywords and learning more about topics I care about very little. So even though writing for money is a more fiscally responsible choice, it barely advances me as a writer. From the creative point of view, writing free fanfiction would be more productive.” 

Nothing I can do is ever good enough no matter how much effort it takes and what kind of results it produces. It’s never enough because it could be more – and there always could be more.

We like to think of hard-working people as virtuous by default, and tend to praise high achievers without looking at the full picture of their lives. Wealth, respect, and fame are wonderful accomplishments, but we know little to nothing about these people! Quite often, success comes at a cost of family and friends time, hobbies, and mental health. But we choose to focus on the positive aspects instead. 

“Go and work another 18-hour day,” they say, “and you could be just like them! A myth, a legend, a glorious story to be passed around.” 

In 2010s, this message was so loud that I couldn’t hear my tired consciousness quietly begging for relief. I was miserable throughout most of my twenties, and no amount of goals achieved made me feel happy in any real way. Yes, there were some outbursts of joy (or rather, pride?) but the rest of the time I was just dragging myself to do the work required to pull off the next big thing.

Is it a productive use of one’s time? Hardly. Spending all your energy digging yourself into a deeper hole is, in fact, a very questionable choice. Now, imagine how much one could achieve if they allowed themselves to pursue the things that were truly meaningful to them.

Contrary to what it looks like, I’m not trying to sell you on the idea of universal basic income (although wouldn’t that be nice?). Instead, I’m encouraging you to think about what being productive means to you.

Just like the notion of happiness had to be redefined throughout the pandemic, I think it’s time we redefined productivity. Spending your life in a chore mode will check many boxes off a generic to-do list, but does it really push you further as a human being? Does it advance your character, as in who you want to be as opposed to what you think you should be? People cite discipline and willpower as admirable qualities, but if you use them as a whip that makes you run faster, you’ll feel like an abused circus animal in no time.

So yeah, please consider redefining what productivity actually means to you. We still have to do many unpleasant tasks, but maybe there’s a way we can outsource some of them in favor of doing more enjoyable things. Maybe, just maybe, we don’t have to engage in soul-sucking activities as much as we’ve been tricked to believe. Maybe life is not meant to be a miserable existence but instead an adventure, and you get to pick what it’s going to look like.

We have to unlearn so much, don’t we? ❤

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