Foundations of Productivity: Always Be Doing Something

Photo by Lutz-R. FrankMy mother-in-law once made a comment that I am always doing something. I suppose that I am. Even in my “down” time, I am actively relaxing, or pursuing a recreational activity. I do very little without prior thought-out purpose.

I’m not sure where this habit came from; my mother does her share of it, but also watches a lot of television (I rarely watch, unless there is something specific I want to see on, then it is a conscious decision).

I didn’t really think about this aspect of my life until I read the article “Determine Never to Be Idle”.

What Does Never Being Idle Mean?

Contrary to your likely gut reaction, never being idle does not mean never relaxing. It means that you do things with intent. If you want to watch television, great! Just don’t sit down in front of it because you can’t think of anything else to do, and channel surf for six hours.

How it helps productivity

Obviously, if you are doing more with intent, you will get more of your stuff done. It might be amazing how much of your time is given over to non-intentional acts. The way to check is to keep an honest time log for a few days. See how much time you spend surfing the internet or television channels, or doing anything that you just fall into.

How To Limit Idleness

List ALL projects. The big key to living with intent is to make sure that all your projects are in your productivity system – even your recreational ones. If you want to pursue a gardening hobby, projects should be in the system, treated just like work or other projects.

Have adequate “down time” projects. Make sure that you do not tip the scales into overwork unintentionally. Put in a few books, a few hobbies, whatever allows you to relax.

Always have a project at hand. When you finish a project, queue up the next one, after adequately basking in the glory of completion.

By simply paying attention to where your time leaks, you can cut down on idleness and get a lot more done!

Photo by Lutz-R. Frank


  1. says

    Great article.

    Especially the insight that never being idle does not mean never relaxing. You should be doing two types of activities, working and relaxing, and they should be scheduled (intent).

  2. LJ says

    I find that I have to intentionally relax, otherwise I work myself into the ground!