Evaluating my Relationship with Productivity

I really can’t tell if it’s healthy or not.

I love productivity.  So. Freakin’. Much.  If I don’t accomplish some kind of “creative work” each day (writing and/or reading), I feel like a failure.

This is not to say I don’t also get rest.  I take naps quite often– long, robust, three-hour-long naps.  And I sleep about 6-7 hours a night.

But I find it hard to just pop a movie into the DVD player, lie on the couch, and watch it.  I want to be working on something at the same time.  I find myself pairing mindless work with creative work all the time, just so that I can still be finding purpose in the mindless work.  If I am cleaning or driving or on a walk, I want to be listening to an audiobook.  If I want to play a game of online Tetris, I will listen to scripture simultaneously.  I even listen to audiobooks while I fall asleep at night and sometimes when I am getting ready for work in the morning.  To me, there is something so purposeful in reading.  I have to augment the mindless tasks this way or I go crazy.

I keep a document on my computer called “Current Goals”– there are usually about six on there.  I like to attack them as if I’m a warrior, and I love to keep all these plates spinning at once.

I am thinking about productivity right now because– as my blog readers know– I just totally restructured my novel in 6 weeks, in time for the workshop in California.  And now that I am back, I have been busy re-drafting yet again, and tonight just delivered the revised manuscript to the editor I hired in January.  I put a load of laundry in and thought, Now, you should just put a movie on and relax the rest of the night.

But I felt like I really should either start a new book or else tackle a new poem I want to write.

So, let me ask, do I have a healthy or unhealthy relationship with productivity?  What do you guys think?

productivity

9 thoughts on “Evaluating my Relationship with Productivity

  1. Jackie, I think it’s a healthy and admiral quality to be so productive, as long as you feel good about it. From what you’ve written in the past, it sounds like you have a healthy social life and don’t shut yourselves away from others. You get some downtime (naps–love them too!). That’s the key, I think–do you have a balanced life. I understand the need to do something besides “just” sitting and watching TV–I’m like that too. I just wish I was as productive as you!

    • Good thoughts, Tina! BALANCE. That’s something I need to remember! I think I’m usually pretty good at balancing time with friends and family and time alone creating. That’s a good point!

  2. I want to siphon some of your productivity into my being. I think that if you’re driven into overproductivity by some outside force, you’ll eventually burn out–but that doesn’t sound like what you’ve described. You’re rested, you ENJOY being productive, and you’re keeping your brain in tune even when it could tune out instead. Sounds fantastic to me.

  3. Interesting. I am working on an essay for my manuscript about the dangers of a “production mentality” about one’s art. I’m not saying you fall into that category, but your comment about feeling like a failure in the second paragraph gives me pause. I think a good practice is to notice what rises in you when you feel unproductive or when the time you put into writing doesn’t yield what you had hoped. Also, how does the art of being figure into your life? Can you just “waste time” with God?

  4. Interesting. I am working on an essay for my manuscript about the dangers of a “production mentality” about one’s art. I’m not saying you fall into that category, but your comment about feeling like a failure in the second paragraph gives me pause. I think a good practice is to notice what rises in you when you feel unproductive or when the time you put into writing doesn’t yield what you had hoped. Also, how does the art of being figure into your life? Can you just “waste time” with God?
    P.S. I tried posting this before, and I don’t think it worked. If this appears twice, feel free to delete one of them!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s