At first glance it would seem that productivity is a good thing. After all, who doesn’t want to get more done in less time? However, what happens if the push for increased productivity comes at the expense of enjoyment of life? Does it matter if you get more done if that which is being done is of little value?
Digital anthropologist and author Rahaf Harfoush recently explored this topic in a book called Hustle & Float: Reclaim Your Creativity and Thrive in a World Obsessed With Work. In her book she explored workplace burnout and how to avoid it. Bloomberg Businessweek interviewed her during the COVID pandemic to learn more about how to balance work and life in the era or work-from-home.
This isn’t a normal time, so it shouldn’t be treated as normal work-from-home time. The lines between home and work, personal and professional, are blurred with an additional pressure to be productive since the thinking is that we all suddenly have more available time. This isn’t the case, and furthermore, working nonstop simply doesn’t work. We have turned busyness into a coping mechanism. Now, people are applying that to their personal time while sheltering at home, filling it with back-to-back Zoom calls, baking, workouts, and more activity. It’s important to use some of this time to process our emotions and reflect on the discomfort from all this productivity propaganda. Operating as usual will not only negatively affect your work but could compromise your health.
The interview ended with a warning for those who work around the clock.
If you’re a high performer and recovery isn’t an intentional and strategic part of your time and workflow, you’re only damaging your output in the long run.