The Art of Getting Less Done
While working long hours and cranking out a lot of widgets is one way to go, another is to work on important things, to create amazing things, and then to relax.
I’m not saying you should surf the web all day, or take naps all afternoon … but why not? Why not enjoy a much deserved, or a not so well deserved nap? Why not take a long lunch and then a siesta? Why not enjoy a long bath, or a good book?
I hear client’s tell me often, “I just can’t seem to be productive…”
My answer: “Go with it.”
Certainly, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but an obsession with productivity is unhealthy. When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax. Let go of the need to be hyperefficient. Stop feeling guilty about enjoying yourself.
But what if I can’t motivate myself … ever?
So, here’s the “productivity paradox”.
Relax. Enjoy yourself. You’ll be happier. If you work when you become inspired, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation. Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — well, that leaves a void, a space where creativity can grow and that’s exciting, and that’s when you become motivated– and work.
Motivation is doing things you love, but only as long as you really want to.
This is how I work every day. I work on a lot of projects, on things I really care about, with people I enjoy working with.
Simply put, there is too much emphasis these days on productivity, on hyper-efficiency, on squeezing the most production out of every last minute.
People have forgotten how to relax. How to be lazy. How to enjoy life… how to take care. Perhaps worst of all, they, they have fooled themselves into thinking they don’t have time to relax and take care of themselves because doing so is not productive.
Try this: read some of the best books, magazines and blogs on productivity, and see how many will tell you how to get the most out of the time you spend waiting, how to maximize your energy, how to make use of your commute time, how to make every meeting more effective, how to get more out of your workday, how to crank out more widgets.
People are working longer hours, constantly checking their inboxes, constantly focused on Getting More Done.
But to what end?
Are we producing more in order to make more money for corporations? Or to make more money for ourselves? Or just to hold on to our jobs — jobs we might not like anyway?
It is possible we’re trying to get more done because we love doing it — and if that’s the case, that’s wonderful. But even then, working long hours and neglecting the rest of life isn’t always the best idea. Sometimes it’s good to get less done, to relax, to breathe.