What’s the point in all this productivity anyway?

We all have different reasons for wanting to be more productive. Some want to be more efficient so they can get more work done in the same amount of time. Some want to be more efficient to free up more time for other activities. Me, I got into this to save my sanity.

I was a fairly late arriver to the Cult of Productivity. It all began when I came across Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders blog a year ago which in turn led to me discovering GTD and The Flylady. This couldn’t have come at a better time. I had lost control of the house – piles of washing, messy floors, toothpaste all over the sinks. Urgh, it makes me shudder to think of it. I was disorganised at work too and repeatedly would wake in the middle of the night realising I’d forgotten to do something. I crave order (there’s certainly a touch of OCD going on here!) and when things aren’t organised I get horribly stressed. As you can imagine, GTD’s promise of “stress-free productivity” was really quite seductive.

Around the same time my husband was going through a particularly difficult and stressful time at work. And then he’d come home at 6 o’clock and have to cook because I’d not got dinner organised. (I should point out, he is generally a better cook than me. Especially when it comes to throwing random ingredients together from the fridge. He makes a mean stir fry.)

I decided to do something about it. I read Getting Things Done, adopted the Flylady routines and started reading productivity blogs. So my initial reasons for being more productive were to relieve my stress, stop CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome – a fantastic Flylady acronym) and make my husband’s life as easy as possible at home. 

The whole experience has been life changing. I no longer forget to do things at work. My house is usually presentable – it’s clean although it might not always be tidy. It has certainly made my husband’s life easier. And a happy Dylan makes for a happy Rachel! (I am aware that wanting to be a better housewife to make my husband happier isn’t exactly how things are supposed to be in this modern age. But frankly, I can’t be doing with any of this PC stuff. And anyway, he works full-time and I’m part-time so the housework should be my job.)

Back to the topic in hand. My reasons for being productive have now altered. I want to be more efficient to create time. To spend with my family. To rediscover old hobbies and take up new ones. To do the things that are actually important to me.

Over the last few weeks while I have been reassessing my productivity needs and goals there has been a shift in feeling in a number of the blogs I read. A move away from the traditional “here’s how to be productive” post towards a more holistic “make the most of your life” post. Merlin Mann has written a couple of really good posts this week on making his life better and how he is going to change 43 Folders to reflect this. The Weekly Review and Patrick Rhone have written on related themes. This change in feel to my favourite blogs couldn’t have come at a better time for me and I’m very interested to see where they lead.


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