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The productivity trap

This post first appeared on substack on February 12, 2021.

I converted to Bullet Journaling in January of this year, it sounds rather like a religion, and it is of sorts.

The Productivity Trap - making life more purposeful

It is a mindful way of task management using a numbered dotted journal.

I found the whole process perplexing for someone who professes to be creative and a fervent fan of sketching.

My overthinking brain complicated what should be a very straightforward process.

Many youtube videos later and my poor attempts at making my “BuJo” too pretty served to make me feel utterly useless.

Finally, revisiting Ryder Carroll’s bullet journal website and acknowledged that I had missed the point of simplicity by going for complexity in my journal.

I have a purposeful working journal with everything in one place, but, it is still a work in progress.

This desire for earnest productivity came about due to the recrudescence of the UK’s Lockdown 3.0 and forced work at home.

My lability to productivity is hit and miss at the best of times, ranging from a To-Do list to Google Calendar and Filofax.

But it is the gauge I use to evaluate my life both work and home task management. The more boxes I tick, the more productive I feel my day has been.

I attribute value to the number of red ticks.

The Productivity Trap - making life more purposeful

Bullet journaling allows me to be creative while managing life.

I admit that I feel guilty in the eleven months of our imposed lockdown if I don’t do ‘something.’

My proclivity to clean and maintain our home has reached OCD proportions, and I struggle to let it go.

My productivity addiction would not be a problem at work, but working from home has escalated these fatuous tasks, and I suspect they result from frustration and anxiety.

Productivity is the quality or state of being productive. I see house cleaning, not as a task but more of a chore unless you view it as a task that needs to be done and completed well.

Therefore to measure productivity as a means of accomplishment seems futile.

“…plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live.” – Alan Watts.

Using productivity as a justification for success feels shallow and obsolete, yet we are obsessed with it as my conversion to Bullet Journaling proves.

The search for a productive day is elusive why are there an abundance of tools, techniques, apps and tips showing how we can be more productive.

The truth is that being productive does not mean focussing on doing more things but fewer and better.

My husband remarks I can’t sit down for more than five minutes because I feel I must be ‘doing something productive’ unfortunately, it is inherent in my personality.

The Productivity Trap - making life more purposeful

It is the reason, the need for getting up in the morning to strive for completion or the fulfilment of a goal whether it is completing a training course to working your way through a pile of ironing gives us energy, focus and the conviction to get it done.

A proclivity for hard work and productivity makes the human spirit complete and provides a sense of purpose in life.

Our innermost need is to have a purposeful life, and productivity is part of that process an emotional connection is formed when a task is completed.

It isn’t about money or reward although they are needed, it is the physical act of a job well done.

We form an intangible connection with the completion of a task, and with it is the gratification that comes from completing meaningful work that supports our wellbeing.

Further reading for you

https://onewomansview.co.uk/press-the-pause-button-on-life/ https://onewomansview.co.uk/taking-it-a-day-at-a-time/

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