Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Last week in “Is Lowering Standards OK To Achieve Productivity?” I talked about lowering my standards, and how all the productivity methods out there seemed to be ignoring the mundane tasks of life. Maybe I don’t move in the right crowds, but I don’t know a single person who can ignore these tasks, like laundry, grocery shopping and cleaning. Nobody I know has a staff to do these things.
Why Try For Productivity?
It got me thinking about why I keep looking to become more productive. Why be productive at all?
For me, it comes from a sense that my time is limited, and I want to make the most of it. I never want to get caught in the world of mind-numbing drudgery that I see too many people get caught in. Yes, I may have to work for a living, and thus trade large portions of time for money. At the same time, I want to use the time that is my own to create a worthwhile life.
Looking at it from this aspect, it is easy to see that productivity systems would call to me.
The Downside of All Productivity Systems Out There
The second complaint I have about every productivity system out there…the ones that encourages me to use the system to turn my life into a super-charged spectacular ball of achievement…is that none of them have ever been able to help me determine exactly what I should work on.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People came the closest, having me list out all the roles in my life and decide what was important. The problem with that approach is that many of my roles have been thrust on me, and quite frankly, I have no desire to fill them. This has eased as I have gotten older, and now most of my roles are of my choosing. But there are still many roles I have not chosen. Homemaker and household manager are two of them. Should I embrace them? If I don’t choose them, must I excel at them? No book or system has been able to answer the all important question: what should I be working on?
The Duality for a Fulfilling Life
It seems to me that the life I am aiming for is to be both efficient and effective. Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things. Most systems focus exclusively on the second as being the most important. Unfortunately, if you focus on the “important” things, it means you don’t focus on other things. And in my case, the things that got stuffed to the back were the things that I really did need to do because no one else was going to do them for me. None of the systems I have read have been able to lay out for me exactly how to determine, amongst the hundreds of things that capture my interest, what I should do next.
To me, a fulfilling life will consist of being efficient in the areas where the tasks must be done. This includes the mundane tasks of every day life. The second part will be working on those things that give life to my inner self: to investigate things I am curious about, to create, to build lasting and worthwhile relationships.
What This Means for the Blog
When I started this blog, I was really into Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. And as I grew disillusioned with it, the articles became fewer and farther between. It’s not that I abandoned all part of the system: there are good chunks of it that really do help me let less slip through the cracks.
But moving forward, I will probably be less focused on Productivity-systems-in-themselves-as-a-means-to-a-meaningful-life, and more toward figuring out efficient ways to handle the mundane, while deciding on the most important things to me, and using my actions to further those goals.
Photo by Dawn Ashley