The Myth of Peak Productivity
Behind every person aiming for peak productivity is a body on overdrive; cortisol overloads, fragmented attention, high blood pressure, and much more. It's similar to looking at a skinny person who eats junk food all the time, the "skinny fat" as they're sometimes called. They have the metabolism and body constitution that belies what's going on behind the scenes in their cardiovascular system.
Early to work, lunch at your desk, meetings all day, late to leave, doesn't make a good employee or leader either. It makes a person disjointed; dissonant to the normalcy of a world where people work to live, not live to work.
Think instead: balanced productivity, relaxed focus, calm drive.
Striving vs. Thriving
What can we expect from measuring success by output versus value? A systematic cancer that goes undiagnosed. And we all continue to participate because the level of our salary and title is tied to it. When those with a marginally greater ability to manage stress, attention and workloads get promoted to leadership positions, others who may not have the same makeup must follow suit, creating an inherently unsustainable cycle.
Even the ones at the top who can mentally and bodily handle the work cave on the social contract in other ways. Quality time with friends and family takes a toll. Not only do you spend less time with your loved ones, the time you do spend with them is crowded with email, and thoughts of what you must get done. In fact, a desire to work emerges in this risk/reward system that like a pez dispenser offers an adrenaline or dopamine hit every time you opt in and keep working.
How do you get off this roller coaster?
Ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing while you're doing it. Think of those instances when you work out of habit. When you sit at your desk, when you pull out your phone, or when you open up your laptop. What's the first thing you do? Do you jump into your work immediately? Do you check your email? Facebook? Twitter? Why? What is the most optimal task you could be doing? What is the best way you can help yourself and those around you?
Questioning your next action is one of those basic habits that forces you to be accountable. It may be annoying at first, since all of us are culprit to just moving on from one thing to another without question. And if you don't like questioning yourself like this, you've fessed up and realized it, so you're not ignorant anymore of being on autopilot. You're conscious of your choice and that puts you in the driver seat. It's still another form of accountability.
Now it's your turn: Why are you working? Have you defined "enough" for yourself? Do you know when you've crossed the boundary from value to overdrive? What keeps you bought in?
Please let me know in the Comments section, and please do share this post with your network. Thanks!