The crux of the productivity paradox

Last week felt like I was moving at a snail’s pace. 

A combo of Atlanta’s highest pollen counts, what felt like a heat wave, and pulling off a family event was the perfect storm for low energy. 

Still it drove me crazy that I couldn’t shake it off. 

It felt like I couldn’t get anything done. 

I thought about this ultimate frustration in our culture – how we obsess over the idea of productivity. And how often we allow it to drive our moods and our identity. 

Feeling “productive” can hold so much power. And the irony is interesting: most people have never stopped to identify what that means. To them.  

As we wrap up the conversation around this month’s topic, here’s the biggest takeaway:

YOU are the one in charge of defining productivity in your life. 

While we may be in charge of work directed by other leaders, ultimately, you are in the driver’s seat of your life. Stop allowing other people to define what productivity means for you.

We’ve said productivity is useful, fruitful, gainful, effective, worthwhile, constructive. Hypothetically your life is based on some working definition of what you’ve deemed important to construct in your life, such as: better health, professional growth, relationships, financial success, mindset, etc. 

Does that definition exist for you? Somewhere? 

My bet is that most of us don’t have one. And if we audited our “list”, we would find quantity not quality…motion, not purpose. We would find a lot of things that don’t lead back to a goal we care about. Our goal. 

No wonder we don’t feel productive.

We’re living in a constant flow of false productivity, and deep down, we know something’s not working.

This is the crux of the struggle. Leaders come to coaching with a mix of goals, but ultimately it comes down to this:

  • They want to live according to what matters to them. 
  • They want to be more than a list in motion leading nowhere but burnout. 
  • They want to get out of their own way so that they can realize a higher version of themselves. 

For that to happen, what we do has to align with a purpose or goal – that we’ve chosen.

Hard work isn’t the problem and it doesn’t cause burnout. We get burnout when we’re working toward someone else’s definition of success and productivity. We’re seeking the wrong things and our bodies and minds know it.

Ultimately we’re talking about alignment > this is what produces the feeling of productivity. 

How do you get alignment? You dig in. To what matters to you.

Your goals

Your values

Your purpose

-Your gifts

Stop looking around at what everyone else is doing. It may be easier that way in the short term, but it keeps us stuck. 

You will only find alignment and peace when you turn the mirror and look at yourself. It’s the only place with the answers. 

We don’t do this for a lot of reasons. It feels hard. 

This work can also be lonely. 

Which is exactly why people come to coaching. To get clarity and alignment. So that ultimately they can feel productivity and peace. What if you woke up most days with those two things?

I remember when I did this for the first time. I called in a coach. I knew I couldn’t go it alone to create the kind of change I cared so much about. I hope you don’t either. Find a partner in your journey. I promise you won’t regret it.