Thoughts on productivity

A picture of the tent that a couple of dances have been held in the past two weeks – most recently, homecoming last night. Though this is from that first dance two weeks ago, the setup is the same.

Time management is not something I’m especially good at. In fact, I have a tendency to push myself too hard and too far, without taking a break, and then things aren’t pretty.

Of course, sometimes outside circumstances create the need to push oneself too hard and too far – without even being able to take the time for a break.

I just want to take a moment and say that it’s okay to take time for yourself. It’s actually important that you do. We’ve created a culture (we as the general human species) that has placed a lot of emphasis on staying busy and being busy and the idea that busyness will get us where we want to go – assuming, of course, that our busyness is productive busyness.

So, we should define productive.

According to, productive is

  1. having the power of producing; generative; creative
  2. producing readily or abundantly; fertile
  3. causing; bringing about (usually followed by ‘of’

(There are a couple of other definitions, but those are more focused.) Interestingly, this all seems to be focused on the creation or generation of material objects, which is in line with what our society tends to think productivity means. We like to define productivity in terms of bettering ourselves financially, getting work done – for me, as a college student, it entails doing my homework and turning it in on time, not to mention doing it to the best of my ability.

But does all productivity have to with physical work?

No. It doesn’t.

Taking care of yourself is productive. It doesn’t produce the same results, but it’s necessary. Taking time out of your day to do something that you genuinely enjoy is important – that’s part of taking care of yourself. Giving yourself time to decompress is important. Taking breaks is important.

Your happiness is important. And unless you really, really, really love your work, it’s likely that there are other things you can do to increase your happiness.

And, by increasing your happiness, your productivity should also increase. At least, so I’ve found.

And in the end, what really matters isn’t how prestigious your job is or how good your grades are. It’s if you lived a good life, if you made meaningful relationships with people, if you were happy with the life you led.

On that note… please remember to take time for yourself! Hope you had a good week and that this upcoming one is even better!

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