Productivity At What Price?
I am sitting down to my laptop feeling a sense of guilt and a bit of irritation. I didn’t get nearly as much done this afternoon as I wanted. I feel like I wasted time that I could have used for writing or job hunting.
When I think about it, I didn’t actually waste the day. My aunt fell and twisted her ankle this morning so she couldn’t drive herself to the store. We decided that I would drive her. First, we had a lovely lunch at Cracker Barrel. Then, we went to the grocery store where we got food for the week (including lots of healthy foods). While we were there we met a delightful 93 year old lady who reminded us that the secret to having a good life is trusting Jesus. When we got home we found that the snow plows had blocked our driveway so we then had to shovel a path just so that we could park.
All of these things took longer than expected. I came home feeling so much pressure to get things done that I was momentarily paralyzed. I didn’t even know where to start. The guilt I felt was oppressive. I felt like I had wasted my whole day.
I didn’t do the things that I wanted to do but my day was not wasted. I helped my aunt with errands that she couldn’t do alone. We got groceries for the house. I stopped to take some pictures of the winter wonderland that is outside. I helped my family clear the driveway. All of these things had to be done. So why do I feel so guilty?
I think that the problem is that I am very task oriented. I want to do something. I am not accustomed to going with the flow. I want a schedule and I want to be able to see measurable progress. I want results. I want to write for two hours and then see that I have written 1,000 words. I want to know that I have sent 10 good resumes. I want results that fit my definition of productivity.
How often do we miss the everyday events of life because we are trying to keep a schedule? How often to we miss opportunities to connect with friends and family because we want to get more done? Life is made of little moments. If we don’t notice those little moments, who will? If we are not present for the moments as they happen they will be lost to us forever.
My message today is simple. Choose wisely. My day was not good from a productivity standpoint but it was great from a family standpoint. I connected with my aunt. I made sure that we have ingredients for our meals. I helped to move a ton of snow. I was there for my family today. I chose them.
Yes, it is hard to deal with distractions. Yes, your To Do list will be screaming in the back of your mind. Yes, you may have to deal with guilt when everything doesn’t go exactly as planned. Yes, yes, yes. But you may also experience a moment you would not have otherwise had. I would never have gotten those lovely pictures if I had been chained to my laptop all day.
We have to choose. How will you spend this moment? This hour? This evening? This day will never come again. What will you do with it? Choose wisely.