Saturday, November 28, 2009

Productivity, Burnout and Happiness

Happy Beings
"Love Letter" Blog

Productive: Is it cracked up to be what we are told?

Easily we get bogged down. We feel burdened by an encumbering workload and an endless to do list.

Do you know what I’m talking about?

We have so many things in process and yet too many yet to get started. In our minds, one idea about what should be done is colliding with the other. We live in a world were getting things done is equivocal with being productive, and we have all learned from a wee age that we must not shun our individual responsibility in being productive. We learned that productivity adjoins us with our acceptability. And, certainly we have learned to seek acceptability.

But productivity as many of us have learned to perceive it, is not always what it is cracked up to be. Productivity can often run against the grain of wellness. By climbing on the productivity treadmill we easily forego a calming and fulfilling activity like actually walking in a park. We give up the joyful sensations of observing, feeling and being one with a total experience. We relinquish our enjoyment of the present moment for some gamble on a future payoff. Yet we are suckled on productivity and thusly use a lifetime to nurture ourselves on it.

Productivity is often mistaken for effectiveness. Productivity is usually likened to getting to a goal by virtue of the shortest distance. It inherently holds little tolerance for mistakes, and accepts no excuses for falling short of a deadline. Thusly productivity is linked to satisfaction vis-a-vie perfection (ie…perfection equals productivity). Productivity as we have come to know it does not include waste, ineffectiveness or inefficiency. Those who are most productive receive the golden star. They went from “A” to “B” with minimal or zero glitches. Staying on task, they got in done in a specified timeframe.

One frequent problem arises with those who are consumed with being productive. That problem is commonly known as burnout. Many of us, who have traveled miles along the endless productivity road, have done so with the following question lingering within: “Why am I spending my life this way?” Or, “Is this what I am really meant to do?” If one of these questions or similar questions begins to arise, then you know that burnout is on the horizon. These kind of shooting-star-like questions are first-line symptoms of something that is more intense and mentally de-habilitating.

If you experience burnout or would like to put it in check before it shows up, then you may realize some relief by pondering the following questions. Is this what I want to be doing 10 or even 20 years from now? Is this the way I want to spend my life? Or better yet: “If I keep on going as I am, what does my life look like down the road? Am I excited about what my future presents? Do I have a purpose for my life? What is the meaning of my life?

If you are experiencing some degree of burnout you may find that you are glazing over the answers to these questions, or if the questions are not registering as palatable, then it may be time to take a self-audit.

Ask these questions and ponder your answers. What would have to change about my life for me to be happy? What would have to change about my work- life for the dissatisfaction to be removed. How is my dissatisfaction tied into productivity expectations? Am I an approval chaser?

The final question to help put things in perspective is: Am I doing what really and truly matters to me? If you are affected by this article or stymied or provoked while reading it, then that is a favorable sign. In any case you can benefit by knowing that you are either living out your purpose, or that purpose is still awaiting. I’m not “diss-ing” productivity. Rather I’m pointing out that when we indulge ourselves in the mindless pursuit of being productive, then our wish for finding happiness is linked to something outside our calling. When that happens we must chase the expectations of productivity in order to be who we are expected to be.

But is that who we really want to be?

Here is a suggestion: Read the article again, one paragraph at a time, but backwards. It may take you on a slightly different pathway and instill a profound linage on self-observation. Don

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