More isn’t always better. We all know that being busy isn’t the same as being productive. Whilst most self-help books and experts advocate against being busy and more towards being actually productive, what I’ve found is that they still advocate towards having a full schedule, just a productive one.

This is where the problem lies for me. I think we are misled into thinking being productive is the best thing we can do for our futures and careers. We are misled into thinking we must always strive to be more productive.

True. Increasing productivity is definitely effective and definitely necessary.

But, being productive only frees up time that we then fill with more productive activity. The cycle repeats. Soon, we begin taking on more and more as our bar for what we consider sufficient productive output rises.

For me, this isn’t healthy. Nor is this maintainable long-term. For me, being productive isn't about completing the highest number of tasks possible every single day.

I’ve always been a little cautious of all this productivity business, I’ve previously written about the art of being unproductive and how I try to avoid burnout. So, for me, being productive means:

Doing necessary tasks in a timely fashion without sacrificing on physical/mental health.

If I've completed all my necessary tasks for the day and there are no further time-urgent tasks, I'll call it a day. But that’s the hardest part — being able to call it a day without feeling the need to be more productive.

This helps me: remembering there’s more to life than work and hustle culture.

I actively try to limit productivity per day for two reasons. As a palliative-care nurse once learnt from patients sadly reaching the end of life, there are other important things people often regret not spending more time on such as family, friends, and relaxing. Secondly, being productive every waking hour just isn’t compatible with your physical and mental health long-term.

One painful observation I've made is the lengths people will go to be ‘productive' and completely barricade themselves from focusing on their health. When we look at things long-term: health, both physical and mental, determines your quality of life, not how productive you once were.

So hear me out, you can be mindfully productive and still be wildly successful. You don’t need to overdo it.

What do you think? Let me know, hit me up on socials. 👋🏾

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