There are a lot of blogs (and books and e-books) about productivity. Productivity is one of the most used words in the 21st century. A post like ‘how to be more productive’ or ’27 tips to be more productive’ are most likely to reach the Digg.com frontpage. Everybody is eager to be as productive as possible. Everybody likes to think about it, blog about it and think about it even more. But why do we want to be more productive?

Not for comfort

We don’t want to be more productive because it gives us comfort, because it doesn’t. I cannot imagine that having 43 folders for everything gives you comfort. Neither can you convince me that you like to shut everything down and work on one task for an hour or so. The process of reaching productivity isn’t nice. The outcome probably is.

We do it for the outcome

Being more productive results in more time to achieve things. We can do more activities in less time. And less time means more free time. But what do we do with the free time we get by being more productive? Nothing. We watch television, watch stupid shows as Gossip Girl, the Hills and How I Met Your Mother (sorry, that one isn’t stupid, you can learn a lot from it). We are going to be on an instant messenger, talk with friends who are still busy with the task you already finished because they aren’t productive.

Higher productivity works only with more activities (or ‘find your breakeven point’)

Perhaps, you should try to be more productive when you have more activities. People who are just going to college and that is it, they shouldn’t bother about productivity. They have enough time to work on school and they can spend a lot of time on useless things besides it. But people who do more should think of cutting back the time they give to each activity and be more productive. You need to find your breakeven point (when results more productivity in a less productive life?)

An example

This sounds vague, sorry people. I’m going to clear it up with an example. There is a fictive person, let’s call him Simon. Simon is a college freshman, writes for the school paper, organizes a career day for his fellow students and runs a blog about iPhone apps. This doesn’t give him much free time. So he starts to be more productive, gets more free time, which he can use to spend time with friends and family. Then he starts to be even more productive. He gets more free time and he is going to waste it with surfing the internet. On this point, being more productive doesn’t result in a more productive life. Every minute Simon is winning with being more productive, he is going to lose by wasting his time.

Experiment with yourself

Yes, I am going to say it again. Experiment, experiment and experiment. Test what works. Where is your breakeven point? At what point will being more productive result in a less productive life? The take home message: Don’t go too far out of your comfort zone to reach high productivity, it won’t always result in a more productive life.

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