What is true productivity?

No cocaine, Adderall, or speed for me.

Dots bubble rain drops macro

A philosophical idea I’ve been pondering:

Would a life with constant productivity and no rest or sleep… Be a good life?


Thank God for the boon of sleep

Eyes abstract phone

The thing that’s very interesting about reading Homer’s Odyssey is that there isn’t any mention of people being “productive”.

In fact, the notion of being “productive” is a modern notion, pushed forth by the utilitarian philosophers (Jeremy Benham) as well as many modern capitalist-protestant work ethic philosophers.

The protestant work ethic

Tetris abstract

The basic idea was this:

In order to go to heaven, you must make a lot of money (while not spending any of it). It is the Protestant duty to make a lot of money, and increase their wealth.

Abstract

Thus, when you’re not working and being “productive” you’re sinning. The only morally “good” thing you can do (besides being a good person) is making a lot of money.


“I’m busy, how are you?”

Moon abstract

In America and most of the modern western world, to be “busy” is good. To be lazy or “unproductive” is seen as evil.

But this is the problem:

We get suckered into doing “busy work”.

Busy work is empty work. Busy work is a waste of our time, energy, focus, and life.

What we want to do is meaningful, impactful, and epic work.


Producing is good

Selfie phone black and white

To produce is good.

We like trees that bear a lot of fruit.

Similarly, we like productive people; people who produce much.

And to be clear, I don’t mean to call people who are really good at answering emails, scheduling, or checking things off their to-do list as “productive”. I would call these people as “effective gizmo turners”. I also don’t want to disparage these people; they are essential too.

But what I want to clarify is this:

We must focus on doing powerful work.

What is powerful work?

Macro

Powerful work is work that changes the world. Work that empowers you and others.

Work that makes a massive impact in the world.

What kind of work is this? It is work that only you can do, and nobody else. Your personal Archimedes lever.


Maximize your powerful work

RICOH GR II, shot with Flash in macro mode

Simple thing to ask yourself:

How can you maximize powerful work during your day, and minimize weak and busy work?

It’s up to you!

HUSTLE HARD.
ERIC

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