Reconsidering Productivity: Rest Over Results

Jody Carrington
January 26, 2024

I often wonder why our definition of productivity is so myopic. We have lists, tasks, a chronic need to perform, accomplish, and produce ALL the damn time. When our minds and bodies cannot sustain giving 100% every day without enormous consequences.

We forget that our best outputs come from a place of stillness, after we have rested and recharged. Creativity does not exist in times of burnout and yet, we elevate “hustle culture” and get down on ourselves when we don’t produce results. Our work environments reward achievement, not rest. Nobody gives you a medal for just showing up.

But we’re humans, not machines. Sometimes showing up is all we’ve got because we’re overwhelmed and overextended.

Nobody has the capacity to operate at full speed 24/7. I think it’s time to reconsider what our accomplishments are. Taking naps, meditating, practicing gratitude, slowing down long enough to sit and relish a meal—these are productive activities. Relaxation is a skill; it takes focus and practice to get good at it.

When we’re exhausted, we lose access to the best parts of us. We have the ability at any given moment to slow down our breathing and get back to ourselves. I’ll leave you to ponder this fantastic image from Jun Han Chin:

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