What it Feels Like to be Unproductive – Part 2

20/5/2013 |

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This month Graham has abandoned all of his usual systems, no Toodledo acount, no inbox zero – he’s acting on instinct.


I am spending a lot of time going back to the email inbox and wondering what’s lurking in there.  I’m spending a lot of time writing little notes to myself and adding them to my calendar.  I’m spending a lot of time feeling a bit like I want to hide under the desk in case anything explodes.  You get to a stage with maintaining a good productivity system when you don’t really notice the benefits of it if you’re on top of it and you realise its’ value when you let a few things slip and need to update it.  But when it’s absent completely, you just panic.  And the panic is horrible.


Denial and distraction

I have noticed I’ve spent more time on Facebook chatting about Aston Villa.  And my wife has noticed this too.  I think this is perhaps the most interesting observation and learning so far.  What’s interesting  here is nothing to do with Facebook or even Villa.  The same “checking, checking, checking” habit has spread to hootsuite, my email on my iphone, the bbc website, instagram and other things too.  These are the modern-day fuels for the fire of denial.  Distraction is so much easier than reality.  And if it’s disguised as being useful “knowledge” or “content” or “being in the loop”, then there’s nothing to feel guilty about.

We now live in the age of the purposely pointless.  Or the pointlessly purposeful.  And having noticed this in me – and having been frankly feeling quite guilty and disgusted in myself for falling so foul of this in just TWO WEEKS of being off the productivity wagon (!) – I have also noticed how this is absolutely everywhere.

Every face is glued to a screen on the tube, every ear in the station seems to have a phone stuck to it and every hand brandishes a free newspaper containing more of the purposely pointless.  This is a disease that goes way beyond productivity.  No one is thinking.  No one is experiencing.  No one is savouring the moment.  No one is reflecting.  No one is connecting.  And by reading this, I guess neither are you.  And by deciding to write this rather than do one of those things, neither am I.

And once I have the ability to report back from the other side, I will see if there’s some more to be said about this, but only if I can fill it with the purpose it requires to make a connection with you.  And I’m interested in how the accountability that I talked about at the beginning of this post could help us all move away from the purposefully pointless, manage our attention better and be happier.  I’d love to hear what you think about this.


So that’s been my crazy “Maynia” so far.  It’s probably the first month I can’t wait to get to the end of.  Weirdly even this post seems less planned and structured than the ones in the middle of previous months – less elegant somehow – but hopefully there’s some productivity and learning wrapped up in the middle of all this chaos.

Read Part 1 of this post here 
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 Like This? Try these

What is Maynia? 

Graham’s productivity experiments – see where it started

How to be completely unproductive online at MakeUseOf




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