Most people tend to tell you to be more productive.
Sales need to be doubled, you somehow aren't satisfied with the client numbers, and need a lot more. In short, it's this endless race towards a rather nutty goal.
Instead, how about a goal that allows you to waste more time? That throws you back to when you were 17 and not constantly trying to earn, learn or hustle your way through life. Productivity is important, but the goal isn't exactly what you're expecting.
Let's find more about the real goal of productivity.
One of the things that bug me the most is the concept of productivity.
Which seems odd if you know me as a person.
Most of my days are filled with sketching, painting, writing, podcasts, answering each and answering every e-mail. There are also a lot of questions to be answered in 5000bc. There's also the occasional set of webinars, workshops and courses.
All of this sounds exhausting and productive, yet I'm not a fan of productivity just to achieve more.
Which is why people often ask: why do you do all of these things? At first, they automatically assume that productivity is linked to something conventional. Many of us want to double or treble our income. We want more clients, perhaps even more recognition, if not fame.
At Psychotactics, doubling or trebling our income is clearly not on the agenda. Fame is not on the agenda because we're quite happy as we are. We don't need to be recognised by everybody. We don't need selfies in the street with some stranger.
Why, then, do we drive ourselves to be more productive? The answer is stranger than you think. All of this productivity is designed so that we can waste time. Or, to put it a better way: time, well wasted.
“Time well wasted” means that you have an abundance of time to do whatever you feel like doing. Activities like gardening, or photography, or dancing. Activities where you're not looking to get any income at all. There is no hustling, no networking, no trying to keep the antenna up for more business, constantly.
You're doing the activity just because you have free time— time to waste. It's something straight out of when you were 17 or 19, and you didn't need to be paid for everything. Back then, you didn't need to monetise everything or hustle for everything. You just did things because they brought you great joy.
Which is what productivity means to me. It means I can do my work in the least amount of time possible and do it much better than I used to do before.
Most important of all, the current podcast is going to take less effort and time. Take the “Three Month Vacation podcast”, for example. If you go back in time and listen to the first episode, it's not too bad, but it's not as good as the ones we do now.
We started the podcast in November 2014, and without going back to re-listen, I know that any of the current podcasts are better in tone, pace and energy.
The first podcast took me all week to do, and it was draining. Predictably the ones that followed also took all week and tired me out. The whole first two years were draining—and now it's not; I can do five podcasts in a week if I choose to do so.
Which effectively means I can do a month's work of podcasts in a week. I now have a level of productivity that far surpasses what it was like in 2014.
You can do the maths from here, can't you? Since so much can be achieved in barely a week, that leaves three weeks (of podcast time) absolutely free. It gives me time to waste. And, to me, at least, having time to waste is an accurate benchmark of productivity.
Everybody seems to talk about work or life balance, but in reality, your life needs to be split up into two parts. One part consists of doing your work to the very best of your abilities. The other part is the time you waste with no regret and have no need to explain it to anyone.
If you're a parent, you spend frivolous amounts of time with your kids. If you're a pet owner, you give your pet as much time as they give you.
Having free time sounds like a pretty bizarre concept and quite unrealistic, yet it's doable. There are times where chaos steps in. A new baby, some life-threatening illness, or a hurricane that you've not expected is always likely to whip through the door.
However, chaotic situations don't tend to be the norm and are more of an exception. When you have these rough times, however, productivity becomes even more crucial. You can get things done and look after the unfolding situation.
The blogs, magazines and so-called gurus all seem to think that productivity is about achieving more, doing more, getting more. And it's not! When you're just starting in business or life, you have to cover a lot of ground.
In that scenario, productivity does tend to be crucial to learn more and get more confidence. Yet, there needs to be a line drawing in the sand. A line that defines that you're where you set out to be.
Where you look in the mirror and say: “I'm comfortable with who I am. I'm confident in who I am. And at this point, I better be productive because I need to waste more time. I need to spend more time doing absolutely nothing if I want to or doing a whole lot of stuff. But not expecting any reward of any kind or any result of any kind.”
To me, that's what productivity is about. It's about doing stuff faster and better and then just wasting the rest of the time. Or as we say it here: time well wasted.