Ok, so the truth is, I don’t really want to be MORE productive. I get a lot of emails from productivity gurus: how to do more, how to clean more, how to make more, or how to work harder in the same amount of time. How to be better at doing whatever it is that I am already doing.
This reminds me of the time when I was living in Japan and I talked with my neighbor. We both had four year old children who were going to the same preschool. This is how the conversation went:
me: “Since our children are going to the same preschool, why don’t I walk them to school and you can pick them up?”
She: “Why would we do that?
me: “Well, it would be more efficient.”
She: “Why would we want to be more efficient?”
Me “Well, then you could save time.”
She: “Why would I want to “save time?”
Me: “Well, then you could have some time to yourself; you could do what you want to do.”
She “What I want to do is spend time with my child and walk her to and from school.”
End of conversation.
There is a sort of driven quality that can happen when we are focused on some goal or on doing more. We can end up pushing ourselves and trying to learn how to produce more. We can forget why we are doing that. What are we trying to get? And then why are we trying to get it? We look for problems: too little, too slow, too uncertain. But in all the busyness, we lose sight of the point of it.
Maybe we could start with what we want more of in our lives and create an approach that builds those things into our lives. Maybe what we want is not more, but better or deeper or slower or more creative. In Spanish, there is an expression: “La vida es corta pero ancha,” which means “Life is short, but it’s wide.” I can go with that.