What Are You Being Productive For?

I was reading an article over at Lifehack.org called “The Trouble with Productivity”, whose title caught my eye. The article made me think. Author Lisa Gates says,

“I feel that much of what passes for productivity is simply ubercybersonic doingness dressed up in happy faces.”.

I have felt that at times. I get so much done. I have plenty of check marks on the to-do list. But WHY am I doing these things? I have to step back and line up my goals again

“Organization, accomplishment, measuring effectiveness-all those tools and systems are cool, but what if our doingness masks a hollow core, or gives us fuel for avoiding the life we say we’d like to be living?” Are there times when I am using doing-ness to avoid dealing with things? Absolutely. I think we all do. But at the same time, the more I use productivity systems, not just as a way to get more done, but as a way of clearing the slate so I can do more of what I want to do.

My change to part-time work was one of the things that came out of this. And one of the reasons I got such support from my client is because my productivity level at 30 hours a week is more than he gets from some of his full-time people.

I do believe the question needs to be answered, however. What are you being productive for? Is it so you can cram more of the same stuff into your life? Or is it so that you can follow your dreams?


  1. Brad says

    One of the advantages of the Franklin Planner system over GTD (and I say this as a fan and user of GTD) was the emphasis on overarching values and top-level goals. This top-down approach certainly has its flaws, but the idea of keeping your big-P Purpose in front of you is valuable. It certainly helps with feelings of hollowness and career-related identity crises.

  2. LJ says

    The only problem I ever had with this is not being able to determine my big-P purpose. :)