The Cult of Productivity

Being home has been a really interesting experience and experiment for me, personally. Of course, it has been interesting for my whole family. But I’m trying to process how it has changed my view of my purpose and what I should be doing every day.

The reality is, what I should be doing isn’t all that clear every day. It’s different all the time. There are some standards, of course. The kids are either going to school or being homeschooled every day. I’m trying to write at least two blog posts per week for Lane B Photography. I’m also writing two articles per month for Thinker Sensitive. And then there’s cleaning, cooking, and general house things.

In the midst of all that, it’s really easy to let the day sort of get away. Get through the morning with teaching the kids, fix and eat lunch, take a break, do some writing, then it’s time for dinner, family time, bed time, the next episode of Better Call Saul, and bed. So I’ve been thinking a lot about how to have a better structure. Maybe I should wake up earlier? Maybe I should do morning pages, or meditation? Maybe I should do a better job about consistently exercising in the mornings? Maybe I should make a reading plan and set aside a specific time to read every day?

And then I’ve oscillated the other direction — Am I thinking about this all wrong? Why do I feel this drive to heavily schedule and routinize my life? The answer is that I highly value productivity, because I have been told to value productivity by society. If I am not producing something, then I feel worthless, useless. As if my life only contains value if I do stuff — in other words, it is not inherently valuable. That’s a problem.

There’s no clear answer to this binary. I don’t want my life to be controlled by the needs of the day; I don’t want to get to the end of the day and wonder what it is I have to show for my time and work that day. I also don’t want to be the kind of person that just accepts the status quo when I know I have potential to do good work. On the other hand, I don’t want to over-analyze my days, questioning my own value and worth. If I’m taking care of my daughters, teaching them, feeding them, caring for them — can that be enough some days?

I honestly don’t know. Because I’m working in a lot of different ways, I feel my attention being stretched in multiple directions, it’s easy to feel like I’m not getting really good at something. Maybe I need to sit back, choose a couple of things outside of the necessary things every day that I want to be better at, and dedicate intentional time to those things.

Or maybe I just need to stop thinking about it so hard.

Leave a Reply