Tag Archives: greg mckeown

20Nov/14

Purposefully Unproductive

Purposefully Unproductive

Image courtesy Serge Bertasius / Freedigitalphotos.net

I’m a mom of two young kids (in case my “ponytail as a hairstyle” didn’t give it away yet) so “I’m bored” are two words I haven’t said in a long time. Whether it’s tidying up the toys, folding laundry, or a myriad of other jobs, there is always something that needs to get done.

Can you relate? I’m sure you can. No matter your season of life there is always something that needs cleaning, work that needs to be accomplished, and plans to prepare for.

Lately though I’ve been practicing being unproductive. It is taking active un-learning to stop thinking about the next thing that needs to get done long enough to be still and enjoy the moment. Sometimes I do it for 30 seconds while I am drinking my first morning sip of freshly brewed coffee. Other times I try and sit quietly for 5 minutes, this is about as long I can tolerate until the urge to get up and do something kicks in.

There is a fear of falling behind that permeates our decisions. Our work continues to mount as we don’t complete it. We also feel that we are the most capable and that if we didn’t act, nothing would get done. There is an old saying that goes: “the graveyards are full of indispensable people”. It is a telling, albeit somewhat morbid, statement that life goes on, with or without us.

So what value is there in stopping, then, if it risks us falling behind? Here are three observations from my own experience with being purposefully unproductive.

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