The Danger of Striving for Productivity

Krasi Shapkarova

Krasi is Carey the Torch's Editor-in-Chief and also represents the Career Development Office in Washington, D.C., working with students on career exploration and development. Krasi holds a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and a Master of Arts in International Human Rights from the University of Denver.

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How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.

Annie Dillard

Those who know me know that I love lists. I have lots of them: a daily to-do; a weekly to do; a to-read list; a to-visit-one-day list; a new-things-to-learn list. Name it, I have a list for it. It feels good to put a check mark next to an item on one of my many lists. I feel accomplished. Most importantly, I feel lists make me quite productive. And isn’t productivity what we should strive for? Being productive translates into a full and meaningful life, right? Well, not quite. As is often the case, too much of a good thing=not good. As we get sucked into this race to be productive, we often forget to stop and truly enjoy the present. The problem is that many (especially those in the Western world) regard productivity as accomplishing tasks, often work tasks. Anything else is fluff, waste of time, unimportant. But that “else” is what helps us enjoy life and creates meaning for us. Sure, work can be meaningful and it’d be great if each person found meaningful work, but it should not be the only aspect of our lives that makes us feel accomplished, productive. So pay attention to how you spend your days because that is, after all, how you are spending your life.

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