Why is being feverish about productivity a waste of time?

Why is being feverish about productivity a waste of time?

Why is being feverish about productivity a waste of time?_Ichhori.com

Is it possible that our concern with productivity and time management is causing us to become stressed and exhausted?Here is an explanation of how reassessing our relationship with time can make us happier.


Studying the year’s most googled phrases can reveal a lot about the collective state of humanity. In the last year, in between searches for "how to make a face mask" and "how to get tested for coronavirus," an increasing number of people have turned to Google for advice on how to manage our time better. 


Questions about getting the most out of our time are becoming increasingly popular, with individuals searching for "productivity ideas" and "productivity planners" as well as "time management strategies" and "how to have a productive day."


However, as we desperately try to become more efficient, we are also facing an onslaught of burnout, which the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized as an "occupational phenomenon" in 2019, as well as extreme stress. According to a recent survey by Mental Health UK, 46% of UK workers feel "more prone to severe levels of stress" than they did a year ago.


Just like the thousands of people turning to Google for help, journalist, and author Oliver Burkeman, who spent a decade writing The Guardian’s “pursuit of happiness” column, also described himself as a “productivity geek”. “For many years, I’d been trying to achieve a perfect capability and efficiency,” he said. 


Burkeman discovered a disturbing reality after gradually realizing that many of his time management strategies weren't working: the average human lifespan is currently 4,000 weeks on Earth. There's something about expressing it in weeks that really puts things into perspective." "Any human lifespan appears shocking in its brevity," Burkeman argues.


It’s this natural finitude that forms the basis of Burkeman’s book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time and How to Use It, which rejects the idea of being more productive by striving to cram more and more into the short time we have. Instead, Burkeman encourages us to change our mindsets and start accepting our limitations in order to make the most of our time and, ultimately, feel better about it. 


"A lot of the issues we have with time have been around for many years, but they seem to have finally come to a head," Burkeman adds. We've reached a breaking point in terms of the amount of information and emails that individuals must deal with, as well as the various demands on our time. You get all these complaints about burnout happening among people who, in previous generations, would be far too young to experience it. It might be time to acknowledge failure and shift to a more productive way of approaching time."


From embracing strategic underachievement to incorporating ‘do nothing meditation’ into your day, Burkeman explores how accepting that we will not be able to accomplish everything can be enlightening and relaxing.


Here are some time management techniques and strategies:


• Embrace strategic underachievement  


“It’s tempting to hear a phrase like ‘strategic underachievement ‘thinking I'm suggesting it's pointless to attempt to be good at anything in life," Burkeman adds. What I’m actually saying is that excellence in every domain in your life is literally impossible because time is limited.”


Strategic underachievement, according to Burkeman, means understanding and accepting that you won't be able to give 100 percent effort to every aspect of your life because there simply is not enough time to do so. Instead, it’s better to pick and choose where to put your energy.


For the following three months, you may decide to focus solely on your career and not put as much pressure on yourself to socialise or keep the house tidy. After that, you can decide to focus on a different aspect of your life for the next three months.


“Failure and success are connected parts of the same idea. For the time being, any decision to excel in one domain means failing in anothersays Burkeman. “Deciding in advance what you’re not going to excel at also means you won't be disappointed if you fail at something because you've already decided it's not a priority." You're simply stating that it's off the table for the time being."


• Serialise your tasks  


Something as simple as focusing on one personal or professional project and seeing it through to completion before moving on to another can have a drastic impact.


In my own life, being more sequential and putting everything on hold until one thing is completed has been helpful," says BurkemanTake a look at what you have on your plate; you might discover that there are five things you should be doing right now." Now, try very hard to completely give up hope of making progress on four of them while you take one to completion, and then move on to the next.”


It causes anxiety because it's good to feel like you've got your fingers in every pie and are taking care of business, but actually it’s not a very good way to make progress. This is because every time one of your projects gets difficult, you can just bounce off to another one, so you never really face the music on any of them.”


Burkeman emphasizes the importance of doing so in a kind manner. "This should not be misconstrued as forcing oneself to do things that aren't suitable for you or that you simply despise. However, it's important to recognize that meaningful activity might cause discomfort at times."


• Practise ‘do nothing meditation’  


"It's quite difficult to do nothing on purpose," says Burkeman argues. However, if you can master this talent, it will not only help you focus on a single work task at a time, but it will also help you find value and happiness in the current moment."


To get into the habit of doing nothing Burkeman suggests that you practice "do nothing meditation “ This entails sitting down, setting a 10-minute timer, and doing nothing at all for the duration. Every time you catch yourself doing something, whether it’s daydreaming, fidgeting or making plans for later in the day, try and stop doing it,” he says.


The technique varies from traditional meditation because in that it focuses your attention on your breath. By comparison, do nothing meditation is hard since the aim is to do nothing, which is essentially impossible. However, the experience of repeatedly failing at it is surprisingly powerful. It means that when you return and step back into your regular life, you'll have strengthened the muscle that doesn't need to hurry and try to accommodate everything.


• Avoid digital distractions


Social media, according to Burkeman, is a symptom of the uber-productive ideal we've created for ourselves. “On social media, thousands and thousands of other people’s accomplishments, lifestyles and daily routines get presented to us all the time, but in a way that reflects what people choose to share and what algorithms reward us with” he says. 


Social media is a distraction that prevents us from accomplishing tasks that are difficult or uncomfortable for us."It's a constant source of distraction that can methodically shift our attention away from things that are important but may be uncomfortable." It’s an instant source of comfort when a little bit of discomfort is actually sometimes what’s called for.”







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