Nearly everything we do revolves around “getting things done.”

Endless to-do lists, emails to reply back to, and paperwork constantly pile up. We never get around it all; and it consumes us. So much so that we begin to change our viewpoints on how life should be lived: productively. But is that really how life should be lived? Here’s my take.

Take Time to Lose Focus

Being productive is a great feeling and we all have a sense of accomplishment that is attached to it that makes our world spin. Don’t get me wrong, I love this feeling. Getting all of my homework done ahead of time, crossing everything off of my to-do list, and so on. But when we become transfixed on getting things done, we lose a part of our lives that we can’t always get back: spontaneous, unexpected moments in time.

When we lose a little bit of focus, we diminish the chances of that happening. It might be a good idea to schedule in some time to lose your focus. Just take a little breather from everything and let your mind wander. Who knows, it might even help you get a little bit more focused later on.

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Be Consistently Inconsistent

Consistency is great, but sometimes, it becomes boring.

Switch things up. Do things the opposite way than you normally do. Do them backwards or upside down. Just don’t be consistent 100 percent of the time. You’ll become predictable. Who likes to feel like people know what they’re going to say before they say it?

Spend Time with People

We certainly spend a lot of time hiding away behind our tiny, glowing screens. (Cue the George Watsky music.)

Our fingers tap away at our keyboards, phones, and tablets so much that it seems like we’re all slowly becoming robots.

A main part of being productive requires you to utilize technology so that you can get things done. Stop. Close your computer. Put your phone down. Stop playing Candy Crush and go for a walk with someone. Spend time with your family, spend some time with your friends, or go out with colleagues. Do something that requires human interaction. It’ll do your eyes, brain, hands, and heart some good to stop focusing so much attention on getting things done.

Have Discussions

It’s so important to be able to hold up a meaningful, insightful conversation with people. It’s a good way to stop being so obsessed with productivity and gives you the opportunity to learn.

I encourage you all to keep an open mind when it comes to discussions. As a general note, you may want to shy away from religion and politics — unless you’re comfortable with those involved

Listen More

We all have something to say, there’s no denying that; but try being an active listener for once. Let yourself learn by listening.

Don’t get this confused with being silent. Supplement what other people say with thought-provoking questions. The easiest question to ask is: “Why?”

Asking “Why?” as a response makes the speaker dig for more. It encourages them to find something deeper. This means you’ll be listening for more.

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Take a Break

Just take a break. Not everything is going to get accomplished 100 percent on time, all the time. Embrace that. Not taking periodic breaks can lead to your attention span whittling down and your patience growing thin.

So go for a walk and stretch your legs. Maybe even get up and do a little dance for 30 seconds or so to get your blood flowing. But try to stay away from social media on breaks because it may suck you in. (It’s happened to all of us before, I’m sure.)


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