Do You Love Your Job Too Much to be Productive?

By: Naomi Matlow 

“You make the job; it doesn’t make you.” – Toni Morrison. February 18, 1931 – August 5, 2019.

Who knew there were potential deterrents to loving your job? It turns out you can love something too much. One participant in a recent study on work-life balance, reported on in the Harvard Business Review, shared, “If we all hated our jobs, it would be much easier to create work-life balance.” It is one thing to deeply know in your very core that you should turn off your email notifications cold turkey (and not respond!) at the end of each day, but when we enjoy what we are doing, or we are on a creative roll, it is hard to let go, be present, and unplug until tomorrow. 

Why are you so busy?

It is important to remind ourselves that being overwhelmingly busy is not the goal. Do we really admire people who always seem to be working, or do we admire people who also have hobbies, passions, and interests beyond their professional spheres? These are often avenues that we talk about too rarely with our co-workers because there is an unspoken rule in many work environments that we shouldn’t have time for things outside of work, and if we do, then we are not busy enough or not working hard enough. 

Has being “too busy” become a status symbol in society today? 

Do we undervalue efficiency, productivity, and well-roundedness? There are many a PhD thesis written on this very question. Having a lack of time outside of work has become a status symbol today, where in centuries past, time for leisure and play were a status symbol of only the wealthy. Today we often find ourselves living in the opposite paradigm. Being overwhelmed by busyness is glorified to often dangerous extremes. Not only does the work suffer when we live our lives through the lens of busyness but we do too. 

What is the difference between being busy and being productive?  

It is important to give ourselves the daily reminder that being busy is not the same as being productive and achieving our goals. Not only does the approach to the task at hand through a busy and productive mindset differ, but they also feel rather different too. When we are busy, we feel the world around us controlling our actions, our schedules, and our state of mind. When we are productive, we prioritize and take control of the steering wheel. 

Maybe if we approach our work, even the work we love, with the goal of being productive, without “wearing busyness as a badge of honor”, we will identify less with what we provide professionally and relish in what we provide more holistically. Maybe if we all strive to be a little less busy, we will find that productivity will be easier to achieve, and ultimately find more space for joy, in our work and in all avenues of our lives. 

How can you transform busyness into productivity in your own life? 

If you are feeling too busy but not productive, or are not connecting to your work, consider taking an intentional break with us in Bali this fall!

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