To simpletons productivity means ‘producing something‘. In this post I’m looking into what productivity may mean. Of course, as per usual anything can mean anything to anybody – as it’s a free country! I’m not about to debate with morons and play with words – nor am I here to give a lecture. I’m exploring this topic for me. If this post inspires anybody to read and learn more – fine. If not, move on – that’s also fine.
So – how did this inquiry come about? Well, today I asked a colleague whether they did anything productive with their day off. The response after a significant delay was not an answer but a question: “Does cleaning my whole house, dyed my hair and sorted out a broken hoover count?” Always – when I get a question as an answer to a question, I basically know a) they don’t know b) they’re making it up, c) they want me to say ‘Great!’. So the nature of the response is more important than the content of the response.
Okay – so I’m thinking, ‘Everybody has to clean their whole house, attend to their personal hygiene and fix odds and ends. Is that productive or productivity?‘ Hey, I’m not here to interfere with people. If they wanna think that’s productive it’s totally fine with me. Well, there could be zillions of different types of productivity – I really couldn’t care.
But people like to think of themselves as ‘productive’. It’s a great self-esteem boost. But are they really productive? Is doing your job productive? Sure – you’re helping the national GDP. So therefore taking care of your personal hygiene and surroundings, helps you to maintain health in order to do the job, which is then ‘productive’ to the national economy. Therefore by extension, breaking wind or emptying the bowels becomes productive as well. Innit. Of course, I’m laughing – how the human mind can form any set of connections it wants, to justify anything.
What people do with their time is ultimately their business. I’m not one to tell them how to live their lives by giving advice. If they ask me an opinion, they’d get it in the rawest terms. So, they rarely ask. If people wanna be lazy on a particular day that’s fine. I don’t expect ‘everybody’ to be a productivity freak 24/7. Being lazy and recuperating from a gruelling week at work, is also productive. I totally get it – that people need some down time to recharge their batteries (figuratively speaking – in case somebody was gonna ask me what brand of battery am I talking about).
The point really, is that people are not usually aware what’s their plan for using their personal time. I’m not saying it has to be a written or highly organised plan. I mean, it could be enough to say to one’s self in advance, “Right – tomorrow I’m doing bugger all. I’ll sleep late. Have no breakfast – only a coffee – then laze in front of the TV. I really need down time.“
Oh dear, some will be reaching for Google instantly to check out if I’m talking sense or nonsense. The mindmap pulls together a few big bones. (Do I need to say every time that I’m speaking figuratively? Chrysst! I don’t know which bones!). The first definition that comes up when I search Google is , “personal productivity is completing the actions that move you closer to accomplishing your goals in a manner that brings balance and ease into your life.” I favour the definition because it is broad and does not focus primarily on work. It covers work and personal goals. But then there is a problem. Trust me – loads of people do not actually know what their goals are or by when they should be achieved. Those who stressed themselves to create a list of goals do not often track whether they’re getting closer – with evidence – to achieving their goals. Very few actually take goals seriously. Oh sure, they’ll give lots of lip service to goals.
This is obviously about the things people do in for their careers. Some people do nothing. I never said that ‘everybody’ has to always be improving. Some people decide that they don’t want to improve. They just choose a 9 to 5 job at a counter somewhere and stay in the job for 40 years. Of course, there are always a long list of reasons why people do not become more productive in their jobs or professional roles. Some may wish (or not to review) 35 years a slave.
As I said there could be a zillion other types of productivity. This is not a PhD thesis!