Productivity Is Not A Hobby

by Randy Murray on September 8, 2014

I have been fascinated by productivity from the moment that my third grade teacher read the class Cheaper by the Dozen. Although the novel poked fun at the father’s obsession with efficiency and time saving gimmicks I thought him a genius.

Later, when I became a Boy Scout, this fascination with saving time transmuted into an attempt at being prepared for almost any  contingency. I quickly discovered that knowing how to do a thing was the best way to save time and far more fulfilling than simply being organized.

But life gets more complex and more and more we find that there are many, many things that we might need to do. There are too many contingencies to prepare for. And it’s easy to become obsessed with efficiency, processes, and time saving “hacks” to the exclusion of actually doing anything.

I’m guilty of this as well, but I quickly tire of endless talk about productivity. I’d rather do things than plan to do things. I’d rather learn new skills and DO SOMETHING than to sort files and folders.

But I’ve learned to organize, manage, sort, and file so that I can do those things. Skills are interesting. Productivity as a topic is too meta to hold my interest for very long.

I’ve been a lone wolf (a title that I prefer over “freelancer”) for five years now. I don’t have to manage others, just myself. And that’s not too difficult. Sit down, do the work, meet the deadlines, do that next thing. That’s an oversimplification of all of the skills and processes that I’ve internalized.

But it boils down to this: I find that I take more pride in the things that I’ve written, the things that I’ve built, than in how I managed to do them.

If you want a hobby find something to build, make, or collect. Use productivity techniques, don’t collect them.

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