Why I Stopped Trying to Be Productive

You hear people preaching about productivity a lot these days. Search the word in Google and you’ll find articles by authors like James Clear, Tony Robbins, and the NY Times.

The majority of the articles you’ll read about productivity give you tips on time management. You’ll find suggestions on how to get more stuff done. Some people suggest that you get up early and check your email first. Others recommend you get prepared the night before and check your email after noon. In other words, everybody has their own ideas on how to be productive.

Nothing Makes You More Productive If You Don’t Care

Here’s the problem. I don’t care how many articles you read about productivity. You won’t become more productive if you don’t care about your work. That’s why I stopped trying to be productive. It’s a simple concept really.

Instead of setting goals and timelines and working myself into a frenzy to get stuff done, I just focus on what I love to do. Granted, I’m not a CEO of a big company or attempting to start a business. However, my method will work for anyone. Because if you love something, you’ll naturally do it.

Think about it. I love to teach. And I love to write. So guess what? I do both regularly. I don’t set a schedule. I don’t purposely drag myself out of bed at 3:30am to write 10 blog posts before breakfast. I just write. Why wouldn’t I? I love it.

The same goes for my music production. I don’t care how much music I produce. I just produce music. Here’s the truth: I’ve stopped trying to be productive in my creative endeavors and I’ve wound up creating more.

Schedules Put the Pressure On

Awhile back I wrote a post about creating less pressure in your life. Why? Because pressure leads to failure. That’s right. The more thought and worry you put into trying to do monumental tasks, the more likely you are to give up. What’s the solution? It’s simple. Stop trying to be productive.

In the last year, I’ve got a lot done. Here’s a short list:

  • Sold my house and moved
  • Paid off over $50,000 in debt
  • Produced over 75 musical compositions
  • Written over 100 blog posts
  • Sold more books in 2019 than the previous five years
  • Started investing more money
  • Created a new mass media course

Looks like a lot of productivity, right? You might be surprised to know that I actually worked less in the last year than I have in any year since 2010. I didn’t set any major goals. And I didn’t abide by some kind of strict schedule. I simply stopped trying to be productive and did what I really wanted to do. And you know what? I’m happier and more relaxed.

Keep Your Goals Loose and Longterm

It’s not that I’ve quit giving a crap about everything. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve decided to pay more attention to my longterm vision than any immediate results. I’ve also learned to keep my goals loose and let go of failure. Instead of beating myself up when I fall short of any given plan, I just reevaluate and move on. Sometimes that means trying again. Sometimes that means forgetting about it.

Putting less pressure on yourself can be amazing. It gives you more freedom. It allows you to think and breathe. Constantly working takes its toll. So instead of killing yourself to get everything on your list done, take things more lightly. Do what you love. Accomplish what you can. Take frequent breaks. Go to the ocean. Live.