Maybe We’re Not Meant to Be Productive

Maybe-We’re-Not-Meant-to-Be-Productive

Everything about my life lately has had this incredibly accelerated pace. Every hour is hyper-saturated with urgent tasks, to-dos, actions to be taken. It’s as though somehow, I’m holding myself to the same standards that I expect from the technology I use daily for work, entertainment, and communication:Always on, always at the ready, performing simultaneous functions, repeatedly, without tiring. This is of course, the purpose of technological innovation: to tirelessly and efficiently perform these computations and functions at increasingly rapid rates.
Moores law rightly predicts the forever doubling capacity of technology every 18 months. Processors will perpetually become faster and smaller and more powerful. The number of functions a single chip is able to perform in a minute will radically increase.But the human heart is not a processor. Our pulse will never double in speed. Yet we seem hell-bent on hacking our capacity to maximize our productivity.

Yet we are not gadgets, and without clear boundaries that to define the parameters between urgent and important, between now and later, we can end up living our life increasingly over-extended. We take short cuts. Lots of them. We rush. Our actions ever more reactive. Our focus shorter. Our reflection time less. And our interactions ever quicker, more impulsive, more superficial.What are we loosing as we culturally adopt this paradigm of maximum productivity? And is productivity the ultimate value towards which we should aspire?

What then of creativity? The antithesis to productivity; the wandering, wondrous activity of imagination. The originator of art, and innovation. These are things I’m pondering this week as I’m trying to radically cut back, to draw boundaries around the important things, and leave white space for the ambling, unexpected, synchronicity of inspiration as it happens when my body has enough time to move and to rest, and my mind has the space to wonder and to dream.I’m curious what you think about human capacity. We’re (arguably) more productive now than at any other point in history. But are we more creative? 

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Franklin

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