My addiction to productivity

In North America, you’re either productive or you’re left behind. There is no in between.

We’re bred to be successful. Our society values things like big houses and fast cars. If you don’t own a house within 2 years of finishing university, something is seriously wrong.

One thing I’ve learned during this trip is that I’m addicted to productivity. I constantly feel the need to be learning new things. Starting new projects. Staying ahead of the curve. Knowing more than my peers. Reading for the sake of acquiring knowledge.

Every single day, I feel I must know more when I go to bed than I did when I awoke that morning.

I’ve had a lot of down time on this trip. A lot. Some days, the person I’m staying with leaves for work at 8 o’clock in the morning and doesn’t return until 10 o’clock that night. That leaves me with 14 hours to spend. I often walk. I drink coffee. I read. I watch people pass me by and and make up stories about where they’re going and what they’re doing.

But I’m not productive.

And sometimes, I find that stressful. Because I know my peers at home are developing their technical skills and learning more each and every day.

But today, I realized I am still learning—I’m just not learning about tech or business. Instead, I’m learning to be by myself. I’m learning how to meet people. I’m learning how the world around me works. I’m learning about different cultures and it’s stripping me of all prejudice. I’m learning about what it means to be truly thankful.

Life is for living, not productivity. —Leo Babauta

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. And it’s important to always be developing yourself. But that doesn’t mean you always need to be productive. It simply means we need to appreciate the time we’ve been given and use it as best we know.

Remove stress from your life. The world will still be around if you don’t finish that book tonight. Your friends will still like you even if you don’t get that promotion. Life will go on if you don’t buy a new SUV this year.

Today, I removed an addiction from my life. The only two that remain are chewing gum and ice cream. And I think I can live with those.