The mantra of success these days seems to be "more and faster." As professionals raise productivity to be the highest standard of achievement, we find ourselves wondering if the drive to maximize efficiency is hurting more than helping.
This week, The New York Times explored the idea of productivity as it relates to the economy. Author Tim Jackson argues that we are running, no sprinting, ourselves out of our jobs, and simultaneously depriving ourselves of quality, artisan products. We live by metrics instead meticulousness, by timers instead of talent, and the toll isn't just on the economy and production, but on ourselves.
It's hard to take a step back and relax when we believe that industriousness is the only way to reap rewards, but neglecting rest and leisure time is an ideal recipe for burnout. Work-a-holic behavior can lead to fatigue, insomnia, joylessness, irritability, and can even trigger chronic diseases that will ultimately reduce productivity.
After all, it isn’t speed or quantity that defines what we really value. It’s the care and effort that went into it. In relation to health coaching – it’s not how many people you can coach in a day; it’s how well they receive your message and benefit from your guidance.
So is productivity really the end-all-be-all of human performance? Surely not, but avoiding efficiency-obsession is easier said than done for many high achievers.
As in the rest of your primary foods, it's important to find balance. A good way to start finding your balance is to keep a journal of how you spend your day. Just like a food journal, this will help you discover your habits and trouble zones. Once you’ve been recording for a few days, you can objectively ask yourself, “Am I setting aside enough time for me?”
If the answer is no, start scheduling in time for primary foods. Slot in a leisure activity, like meditation, a trip to the theatre, or a lunch with a friend. Make yourself a reading list of all the books you’ve always said you’ll get around to, and vow to read twenty pages a day. The key is to make the “non-productive” tasks just as important in your life as the “productive” ones.
Once your time is in better balance, you may find that these "non-productive" activities actually boost your performance and well-being!
How do you reconcile the pressure for maximum productivity with self-care and other primary foods?