Being productive is a good thing. Usually. You get shit done, it solves your
But what happens when trying to get more shit done creates more issues? What
about when it's 10pm on a Sunday night and you are stressing about not having
done enough during the weekend?
You didn't relax enough. Didn't clean enough. Didn't socialize enough.
You don't feel rested at all. If anything, you are as tired or more than during
the work week. Yet, you feel like you should have done more.
That is an expectation. An expectation of how much needs to be done. One that,
taking your energy, feelings, desires and time in consideration, is impossible
Think about it. You to work on that side project AND improve your mental
health. The project takes very long to do and it isn't enjoyable to work on it
most of the time. But you want to push it forward so bad.. so you spend most of
the weekend doing that. Now it's Sunday night, you didn't do as much progress
as you wanted. Tomorrow you have work. Your mental health is in shambles.
You spend the work week recovering. You go to work. You struggle to focus. You
take it a bit easy... You get off work and don't want to do anything. Yet, you
find something mindless to keep you busy. It's not even fun, it's just to avoid
thinking about the exhaustion.
Saturday, you don't do much, still tired. Sunday comes and suddenly, HERE IT
IS! The energy! The inspiration! The motivation! It is all back! And... the
cycle repeats. You work all day long until you tire yourself out. You try to
compensate for the lazy Saturday. Frustration starts to build up at the "slow
progress" (compared to your expectations) of the project. You push through it
but it's hard. Or maybe you don't. You stop and feel a tiny bit guilty. You
distract yourself from it. Maybe some Youtube? Some gaming?
Then, the solution came to you. If time and energy are limited and what you
want (you might be saying "need") to do takes more than what's available, then
the obvious solution is right there: increase productivity! If only you had
better tools. If only you didn't have all these small roadblocks wasting all of
your time on your projects.
You start working on better tools. Learning new techniques. You learn goal
setting. Time management. Task splitting. You track where most of your time
goes and optimize your productivity by focusing on what is most time consuming.
Somehow though... the issue is still there. But why is there this new project
on my task list now? Why is there two projects and not one? Oh right... I was
now able to squeeze two in there and work in parallel. Or alternate to keep
motivation up. But.... it.. it doesn't work! I'm still tired as hell! I still
take long breaks without doing anything! I still get the guilt and start
spending entire days on the projects, not getting anywhere!
You get deeper into it. You add milestones. Deliverables. Deadlines. You focus
on productivity more and more like your life depends on it. You justify being
more productive by thinking: "I'll get more things done and then I'll have more
free time to relax and do other things I care more about."
That, is what I call "Hyperproductivity".
It's everywhere. You look for mental health tips? "5 tips to manage stress
better! 5 tips to stop losing productive time! 10 tips to stay focused more!
learn this new technique to memorize vocabulary faster!"
Notice the words: It's always about "managing", "doing more" or "saving time".
Not a single one has the focus on being happy and content. On being satisfied
of what you did.
Well here's my tip: listen to your feelings right now and keep doing it.
Not the ones you had 2 weeks ago when you started this new awesome project.
The ones you have RIGHT NOW. Or the next time you work on your project. Are you
having fun? Are you frustrated? Are you feeling guilty?
Those feelings are telling you what to do. They are a clear signs of if things
are going right or wrong. Comprehend them. Accept them. Don't fight them, but
understand why they are there.
If you feel guilty about not doing enough, why is that? Do you *need* to be
doing more to survive? Or are you pursuing goals you set 6 months ago and
aren't interested in anymore?
Feeling like you are having fun? Continue! Have fun! Pay attention to your
feelings and when you aren't having fun anymore, it's ok to stop!
Want to work on being more productive? You are motivated? Go right ahead! But
notice how you feel along the way. You might learn very quickly some surprising
In my case, most times I want to improve productivity, the motivation is caused
by a negative feeling: anxiety. So I stop and take care of myself and of this
feeling. I give it love.
Sometimes, that's not the case and I genuinely have fun improving productivity,
or working on projects. In that case, I notice that, give some love to the
feelings and continue having fun!
In conclusion, I'm getting the feeling that more and more people lose contact
with themselves and how they feel. They throw themselves at anything and run
away from negative feelings (which they might simply perceive as "pressure", a
consequence of not paying attention for many years). If that's your case, I
simply want to remind you that you are valid. Your emotions matter. You matter.
Take care of yourself. <3
Love, AKL ~