The Productivity Trap

For years I tinkered with all manner of productivity hacks – paper task lists, apps, websites, and so on – I even read some of the more famous books, such as “Getting Things Done”, and “The 24 hour work week”.

I spent years finding ways to fit more into each day.

It never occurred to me that I should have been looking for ways to do less – to achieve only what I needed to, leaving the remaining time free.

I think perhaps the lockdowns of the last year have brought into focus just how crazy the world we knew really was. We never stopped to consider that we might do less, because we never had time to – we were too busy running like mad to keep up with everybody else.

18 replies on “The Productivity Trap”

Yes. I am noticing that as well. It’s a bit scary, though. Is that what we should be doing, or are we supposed to slow down? Sadly many want it to go back to how it was. I’m just worried if it is too much too soon.


I’m always fascinated that so many people make such huge effort to look a certain way – and often for no greater reason than going grocery shopping. My cousin visited from California when she was a teenager, and it was the first thing she noticed.

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Something I love about the kids today or maybe it’s just my granddaughters. They don’t spend hours on their hair. We did the rollers, hair dryers and hair spray. They wash it and let it dry naturally and that’s it. That would give me a decade back!

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Even before the pandemic, it used to feel like as a society that we overly glorify being busy and productive, whereas I’ve always been very laid back and wonder how others cope with such “on the go” lives so it’s interesting to see how the pandemic has overall changed people. I guess one of those changes is the positive shift towards home working and people realising how much time they can reclaim without having to do a long ass commute, spend money on travel to get there/clothes just to keep up appearances and getting to avoid work colleagues you wouldn’t otherwise choose to spend so much time with.

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I think the closer you get to big cities, the worse it gets. When we travel down to the south west to visit my parents, we can literally feel the pace of life slowing down, the further away we get.


I feel fortunate to have learned the lessons I have during this last year although I’ve always been leery of anyone who wants me to be productive. Busyness is a disease. Of course, I’m a slacker so what do I know? Do less, enjoy more.

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Apologies for not responding more quickly – I’ve been a bit out of the WordPress loop this week (even though I’ve been on a staycation!). I completely agree about the madness of being busy. My dad used to call some people “busy idiots”. And yes – do less, enjoy more (chocolate) 🙂

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I have no idea why being productive is aligned with being busy. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is as little as possible. Nobody realises that though.


I enjoy a list of things to tick off as I get through the day, mainly because it makes me feel more accountable and less likely to forget to do something. But I, like Ally Bean, am a bit of a slacker and I am often fine with not doing things as well. A day spent accomplishing tasks is satisfying in a way, but also satisfying is a quiet day spent with a book or something like that. I think it’s balance we need to look for, where we get the things done that must be done, and then also the things that we WANT to get done, and leave the busywork that needn’t be done aside. It can be tricky, you are right abou that.

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