Or at least the messages are getting convoluted by those obsessed with their quest for inbox zero to little discernible end.
Being productive isn’t about wringing every last minute out of every day doing something or checking stuff off a to-do list and building a relentlessly efficient system that allows nothing through the cracks.
I say that being productive is about accomplishing the things you need to accomplish at a minimum so that you can regain some flexibility to adapt to the opportunities that are optional and even fuzzy at best. The things you can’t so much do as discover, or wait for, or adapt to when they happen.
That’s not always attending a business meeting or creating “content” (cough) or completing a task.
Sometimes, that opportunity is the chance to sit and doodle in a notebook around abstract ideas for a while. Maybe it’s the chance to clean out the junk drawer in your kitchen, or write that email to your friend that you’ve been meaning to get to.
Maybe it’s sitting and staring at the wall for a while, humming the chorus to your favorite song. That counts, too.
Humans don’t work well in a grid structure.
Anyone who has ever scheduled back to back to back calls or projects in a day knows that your brain is moving around a lot but it’s not actually being sustained in any one place or applied to anything. And at the end of it all, you don’t really feel like you’re any further along than you were before.
Because you probably aren’t.
We mistake being “productive” with “accomplishing something concrete” and that’s a bad call. Because we take up all the available space in our brains. And there’s no room for anything new or different or uncomfortable or refreshing to find its way in.
We need time to float along on the breeze. Have a casual, spontaneous conversation. Enjoy some silence. Write a bunch of random stuff that we never finish, and be okay with that.
Productivity, at its essence, means being able to bring things about.
But sometimes, making that happen is as much about what you don’t do.
Remember that as you go into this weekend. Give your brain time and space to breathe. Waste some time. Wander aimlessly.
It’s good for you.