It's not all about being productive

There’s more to life than this.

I’ve written about productivity on here a few times. Being productive is conducive to my long-term goals, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Furthermore, due to ADHD and other factors, maintaining this behavior consistently is a ongoing struggle in my life. Finding methods that improve my consistency - even temporarily - can feel like a life-changing event. Isn’t that worth writing about?

With that acknowledged, I should take care to mention that my goal is not to maximize productivity. Productivity is a means, not an end, and it’s far from the only means to a fulfilling life. Our hearts cry out for the idle, poetic moments between the throes of life. A vacation meant to ~rejuvenate the worker’s spirit in you~ doesn’t cut it. We owe ourselves breaks that aren’t subservient to some renewed sense of productivity in the future. We deserve to slow down.

Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing offers not a solution, but a strategy for taking back those idle moments from the capitalist structures that would deem them “lost productivity”. Many before us have tried to find a comprehensive solution to our dissatisfaction with the world; their attempts to build an idyllic alternative society have universally been shortsighted and quick to dissipate. So, rather than running to the woods, you start with your attention: pull it away from the global news feed, the apps that offer you instant gratification, and recenter it on your environment, especially the natural one that surrounds your home. Foster long-term relationships with your friends and family; make them your world. (You’ll still need to work, especially as your economic class would dictate, and the degree to which this undermines an individual’s efforts can’t be understated.)

I want a deeper, more meaningful life. Neither I nor my employer will care how many extra hours I worked when I’m on my deathbed. I find myself caring less and less about my creative hobbies when I treat them as another vehicle for productivity, always in service of some “content” to be released. Even writing starts to feel shallow when it’s always meant for the public eye. I need to write poetry for myself and no one else. I need to aimlessly fuck around with my synths and coax the most ungodly noises I can conjure out of them. I need to text my friends & family more often.

All of this is achievable, for me and for you. If we have to be productive, let’s focus on producing a life worth remembering. I want to try.