Challenging the productivity police
It’s a link post! Today I point you to some bloggers who are fighting the good fight, railing against the pressure to cram more, more, more into our days.
At Tools for Thought, Andre Kibbe spells out why a relentless focus on the sacred cows of productivity and efficiency is the opposite of helpful when you’re doing creative work.
He’s writing about the limitations of Parkinson’s law (“work expands to fill the time available for its completion”), which, as Andre reminds us, is not a law at all but a Humorous Saying. Unfortunately, it’s taken all too seriously by people who use it as a reason to place unrealistic time constraints around projects. The problem, says Andre, and this is where I stopped reading to let it sink in:
people can move faster on demand but cannot think faster.
Although not his point, this also explains why having multiple knowledge-based projects due at the same time, and imminently, can lead to brain freeze if you’re (I’m) not careful.
Then here comes Charles Faris with his pro-procrastination post:
Procrastination will do things for you that no planner can. Procrastination will create space. It will create time. It will create clarity of thought.
Chas isn’t saying, blow off everything that people are depending on you for, but pointing out that we attach more importance to our tasks than they deserve. Here’s the gotcha that got me:
How many times in your life have you made a list and not completed everything on it, and everything worked out fine? …And how many times have you skipped tea and shoelaces and cookie jars in order to do something that turned out to be of absolutely zero consequence?
My other favorite Charles, Charlie Gilkey at Productive Flourishing, suggests pruning your projects the way you prune your rosebushes. (Yeah, I know I was just down on gardening, but he’s right about the pruning thing.) It hurts to slice off new growth (potential opportunities), says Charlie, but that’s what makes full blossoming possible.
Right now I’ve got that clenching feeling that tells me there’s too much on my list. So my resolution for the next few days: back up, lighten up, hang out. Replenish my creativity. Get my good judgment back.