Monday, February 15, 2016

The Curse of Productivity

My eldest informed her father and me the other day that we are the reason she despises the word "productivity."

Well, good heavens. "Productivity" is one of my favorite words. Productivity is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Productivity is next to godliness, for crying out loud. I generally define the quality of my day by how productive I have been able to be.

Yet I have caused my daughter to despise the word – and presumably the concept. I'm aghast.

I blame her personality type. In fact, this was the context of her remark – we were talking about our Meyers-Briggs types. This daughter is the lone "P" in a family of "J"s. I was just explaining to everyone that I had read an explanation of those labels that was new to me. J's prioritize the importance of making a decision, getting something done. By contrast, P's are more concerned with acquiring all the necessary information, continuing to consider, tossing around the possibilities, etc.

So, she comes by it naturally, this lack of urgency to get things done. Or so she claims. Whatever.

For my part, I can't imagine NOT valuing productivity. It is so ingrained in my nature – in my very being. Life is about getting things done. If you don't get things done, what bloody good are you? What have you accomplished? What are you here for? What do you have to show for yourself?

Yet, even as I type that, I recognize that I am, perhaps, the opposite extreme to my daughter, and that's not necessarily a good thing. I should NOT define the quality of my day by how productive I have been able to be. It is possible to have a day where I cross nothing of significance off of my to-do list, and yet I might have still managed to be right in the center of God's will for that moment.

Perhaps I interacted with people. That's not a to-do list item, but it is important nonetheless.

Perhaps I regenerated my spirit. Again, quite necessary.

Perhaps . . . well . . . I'm sure there are other things. (My daughter could probably help me out here.)

So, I'll acknowledge, a happy medium may be in order here. I probably need to figure out how to knock the idol of productivity off of the throne of my heart without condemning myself to the ranks of the useless and ineffectual.

BUT . . . my eldest also needs to learn the value of getting things done. Yes. She does.

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