Why You Shouldn’t Strive to Make Every Moment Productive

relax in a hammock

Productivity is a major talking point these days – and it’s something that we more or less all want to optimize and enhance in our lives, to the greatest extent possible.

While it is definitely a very good thing to be outgoing and proactive, to get things done, and to maintain a strong sense of personal achievement, however, there are some good reasons to think it might not always be best to strive to make every moment productive.

Sometimes, it might really be better to hire a plumber and save your weekend for relaxation, rather than taking on an ambitious DIY project.

Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t strive to make every moment productive.

Because we all need moments of “stillness” and pure leisure, to maintain balance and perspective

Most people like the idea of being “balanced,” “centred,” and feeling as though they have a good sense of perspective on life as a whole.

To a significant degree, however, these traits are not associated with “doing” anything in particular, as much as they are with fitting in regular moments of “stillness” in order to reconnect with the present moment, relax, have some fun, and put your experiences and ideas into context.

The Norwegian explorer and Antarctic record-setter, Erling Kagge, certainly seems to believe this – and has written an entire book entitled “Silence in the Age of Noise,” specifically highlighting the importance of not always being “on the go,” or distracted.

Because many of the most meaningful things in life can’t be treated in a “metric-driven” way, and trying to do so may actually be harmful

The drive to constantly try to make every moment “productive” can end up spilling over to various other dimensions of our lives where that way of looking at things is simply not appropriate.

When all is said and done, many of the most meaningful things in life can’t be treated in a “metric-driven” way without totally missing the point, or even potentially doing harm.

The precious moments you spend with your significant other, for example, can only be experienced and enjoyed by being present and engaged in the moment, and focusing on the interpersonal relationship between you and that other person. If you try to emphasize the values of “productivity” in this context, such as by trying to evaluate what you are doing with the time spent together in detail, you will be on the wrong track.

Because a lot of the best breakthroughs come about when we are engaging with things in a spirit of play

Even when you’re thinking about achieving things, it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of the biggest and best breakthroughs that have occurred in various fields, throughout history, have only really come about because the individuals in question – whether artists, inventors or scientists – were exploring a subject that they enjoyed, in a spirit of play.

In recent times, in fact, many influential scientists have decried the fact that the increasing emphasis on “productivity” in University science departments has meant that there just isn’t enough time for the kind of free and open exploration that gave rise to the great breakthroughs of the past.

Although it might seem counterintuitive, trying to be productive at all times can actually get in the way of you achieving some very meaningful things.

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