How to Be Happily Less Productive

Steve Tobak’s “How Managing Your Time Is a Waste of Time” at is wonderful. Tobak writes:

Everyone seems to be obsessed with self-improvement, personal productivity and time management these days. This might seem counterintuitive, but the pursuit of those crazes can actually be self-defeating. In other words, they may actually do you more harm than good.

Tobak also says, “Our national obsession with self-improvement and personal productivity bears remarkable similarities to the self-help genre and our endless pursuit of quick fixes, miracle cures and wonder pills.”

Here, here.

Tobak’s article strikes a chord because I’m tired of relentless messages about how to be faster, better, more efficient and on and on. Maybe you are too.

Tobak offers a list of things to stop chasing in the endless pursuit of work-life perfection. If this will help, or be freeing, Tobak suggests you avoid:

  • Searching for a four-hour work week
  • Being a slave to your phone and inbox
  • Trying to be organized
  • Trying to be a morning person
  • Trying to be productive
  • Doing what everyone else is doing
  • [Being] online [too much]

Here’s my simple suggestion and method. Make a list. Prioritize the list. If you want to be old-fashioned, use a pen and paper.

Do something on your list. Do another thing on your list. Just work the list. Do a good job (or as good a job as necessary). It might take longer than you think it should. DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT.

That’s it.

In the field in which I work, I remind myself that the only thing people are likely to remember is the quality of my work.


2 thoughts on “How to Be Happily Less Productive”

  1. Love this Neil. I’m actually writing a post about the myth that successful writers and bloggers have to be morning people. That’s the one that irks me most. I’m a night owl and proud of it!

    1. I’ll look forward to your post, Robert. Morning is usually my best creative time, but NOT early morning. Like you, I’m more of a night person, but I generally don’t write late into the night.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: