2 min read

Productivity must be present driven

Productivity must be present driven
Photo by ian dooley / Unsplash

Most productivity advice is past driven. The premise of the checklist is I take action on items created by my past self.

That kind of productivity works for non negotiable tasks. Like flying a plane, doing surgery, or buying groceries  -- it's good to have a checklist for non-negotiables.

However with checklists, we trade rigor for presence.  That is inherently uncomfortable: acting without being present triggers apathy. For instance, when I was in Scotland and touring Loch Ness, I was enjoying the mountains, the fresh water, and the cool fresh air. But I had to cut my experience short because I was part of a tour group and we had to move on with the intenerary. The mountains were calling me to be with them, but annoyingly, so was my tour guide.

How we feel in the present moment is the best productivity tool we have. Our bodies are complex: our blood sugar changes, we get inflamed, our gut bacteria produce serotonin which is then transported to the brain - all of this influences what is optimal to do in the present moment. Just because you wrote "Write an article today evening" while making your morning coffee does not mean that your body will be in a state to comply in the evening.

Instead, try taking a breath for a moment and see what your body wants to do. Which task would it focus on? What is most optimal and joyous in the moment? Where are you drawn toward?

But what if the body just wants to eat and sleep? That's why we need to take care of our bodies by eating well, exercising, meditating, etc. When you are in a good state, you will naturally want to do meaningful and creative work, not necessarily the most comfortable work.

Going with the present moment does not mean do what feels comfortable. Often learning and creativity requires discomfort, and if you have a strong why, are high in energy levels through nutrition, meditation, etc., then your body will call you to do the hard stuff, which may be uncomfortable. Take good care of your body and mind, and then trust it to guide you to the right action in the moment.

Productivity must be present drive.