The Productivity Paradox: Why You Need to Stop Doing Things For The Sake Of It

The world we live in today is obsessed with productivity. There are podcasts, books, and blog posts on productivity at our fingertips to dive into whenever we want. 

There’s some new article on how to be more productive everywhere you look. Despite its portrayal as a virtuous goal that anyone can achieve if we follow the right tips and tricks, we all know it’s not always as simple or beneficial as it looks. 

If only it were so simple. After all, who doesn’t want to get more done?

There’s something of a “productivity paradox” going on here…

The Productivity Paradox

Productivity has a paradox at its core. We know that time management entails prioritizing our most important tasks so we can accomplish more in a shorter time.

On the other hand, we’re also told that productivity has to be a “never-ending” goal. We’re supposed to be doing more—even if we’re already swamped. 

We must come to terms with the fact that productivity ideology is fundamentally flawed. We can’t keep trying to do more and more and have it result in real happiness and satisfaction. 

There has to be a point at which we say, “Enough is enough.”

You’re Doing Too Much (And Not Enough) At The Same Time

When discussing being productive, we often talk about how we’re trying to do less. “De-stress, rest, and recharge,” these articles say. “Take time to be more mindful and focus on what matters.” 

But at the same time, these same articles also offer tips on getting more done. “Plan your day to maximize productivity and find more time in your life.” It’s not that we need to do less, but rather that we need to do what matters and spend our time in ways that reflect our values. 

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to tasks. Not all tasks will contribute toward your more meaningful goals and visions for your life. So, why are you spending your time doing them?

 Too much productivity isn’t about doing less; it’s about doing what truly matters.

Productivity Doesn’t Always Lead To Happiness And Success

Everyone tells us being productive will make us happy and successful.

Everyone tells us we can achieve anything we want if we work hard and discipline ourselves. But it doesn’t always work out that way. 

People get caught up in being busy and neglect the significance of what they’re busy doing. “Being busy does not equate to being productive,” says productivity and time management expert John C. Maxwell. 

We’re all busy, but we’re not all productive. Sometimes, the things we don’t do are the most productive. Sometimes, the things we’re not busy doing but should be are the most important.

Good Things Don’t Always Come From Being More Productive

Many of us fail to realize, particularly when we’re young and eager to get started, that there’s a difference between doing more things and being more productive. 

There’s something of a difference between the two. Being productive is about doing the right things and doing things right. It’s about getting the most value out of your efforts—spending your time and energy where they count.

And while the “right things” can very much be connected to how many things you’re doing. Simply doing more things doesn’t mean that you’re being productive. 

Sometimes, the best way to do more is to do fewer things—so that you have the time, space, and energy to do things well.

Bottom line: Stop trying to do more things and start caring about what you do.

The world is obsessed with productivity, but it’s not always good. We tend to obsess over the wrong things and ignore the things that matter. Please stop trying to do more for the sake of it, and start being better at what counts.