Presence Over Productivity

Ours is a culture obsessed with portraying life as mega busy, mega complicated, mega Important with a capital "I." I was listening to something on the radio the other day that mentioned that what we value as a society has really shifted a lot over the past few decades. It used to be that what people craved most out of life was fulfillment. Now, it's popularity. The values we associate with having a good character used to be things like kindness and humility, but now have shifted more towards so-called "resume" qualities like being hardworking and efficient. Getting it all done. Having it all. Doing it all. All at the same fucking time.

I have a little post-it I keep at my home office that says "presence over productivity." I am someone that can easily get swept away into hyperactive productivity. If I start sweeping the floors, two hours later I'm cleaning out the fridge. If I start putting in a few extra hours at work on Monday, you can expect the rest of that week I've committed myself to work dawn until dusk. My anxiety starts to kick in and I start fueling my productivity obsession with checklist after checklist. It's like a little light switch that, once it gets flipped on, is hard for me to turn off.

This penchant for occasional hyper-productivity can be incredibly useful. It's served me well in essay writing, task-management, and yeah, sometimes cleaning my fridge. But when I switch into that mode, I start to get a little...twitchy. I may have plenty of completed tasks to brag about that day, but when I check in with myself, how do I really feel? Present? Living in the moment? No, more like on edge. Shaky. Not in tune with my body or soul.

I wish I was someone that could take their time a little better. To drink in each moment, instead of constantly obsessing about the next one. I'm trying to fix this by reading more, to worrying less. Connecting more, zoning out less. I've decided that self-care and is smart, not selfish. That presence is better than productivity. That being fully in the moment is actually more rewarding (and difficult) than flitting from one task to the next.

While I still value my ability to get 'er done (and have a nerdy obsession with checklists), I don't want it to consume me. Care to join me? It might not be easy, but no matter what you're accomplishing or not accomplishing today, just remember that being productive is not what makes your life valuable. It's being fully present, savoring each moment. Being able to drink in your life sip after glorious sip. Forget about that "busier than thou" culture of ours. At some point today, I fully encourage you to ignore whatever notifications your phone beeps at you, put your feet up, and stare up at the ceiling. Breathe in. Breathe out. And see what happens.