I used to read dozens of articles and self-help books about how to be more productive. But last year, I hit complete burnout and decided to quit “productivity” cold turkey.
Turns out that optimizing my life to allow myself to work more only left me feeling drained, inadequate, and overwhelmed.
So I threw out all of the traditional productivity literature and hit unsubscribe on the motivational newsletters. I’ve replaced the time I previously spent obsessing over productivity hacks with fiction, bird watching, and baking. Oh and I’ve even started writing again! (This time with more joy and less pressure.)
Strangely, I feel more “productive” than ever.
More importantly, I feel whole. I feel centered and strong. My life has never felt more spacious and rhythmic. This feels, finally, like a sustainable way of living.
So what’s with the allure of productivity anyway? And how did productivity become my idol of worship?
What are the similarities and differences between resignation and acceptance?
taking stock by Anne Helen Petersen
That’s the glimmer of certainty: that nothing’s going to change, or at least go back to pre-pandemic norms, for months. I’ve told myself another year, with the understanding that could be wrong too.
Reading anything by Anne Helen Petersen is guaranteed to make me feel better. I can’t wait to read her upcoming book about Millennial burnout.
Where did my ambition go? by Maris Kreizman
A drive to succeed has become a drive to just get by. Why workplace ambition is flickering out in this endless limbo.
Please try to be clear, dear James, through the storm which rages about your youthful head today, about the reality which lies behind the words “acceptance” and “integration.” There is no reason for you to try to become like white men and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them, and I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love, for these innocent people have no other hope. They are in effect still trapped in a history which they do not understand and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men.
—James Baldwin, A Letter to My Nephew, 1962