How to Put Pleasure Back in Productivity

In the last 24 hours, I have listened to otherwise successful people talk about:

  • Being so busy that they can’t meet a friend for lunch… all month
  • Being so stressed out that they are feeling dizzy on their feet
  • Developing sciatica because they are sitting at the computer too much
  • Setting timers to remember to breathe or move their bodies

When I hear stories like this, which I hear a lot now, I have to ask, “Is this really how we want to live?”

Is this what it takes to be productive?

Today’s post is the third in a four-step series on enjoying productivity. Step 1 was to take time out, stepping back from the urgent to make space for the important. Step 2 was to reconnect with your vision, while leaving space for things to work out differently. Today’s post is:

Step 3. Accept the distractions, and learn to set boundaries.

Life is distracting, today more than ever. Never have there been more means to your ideal end, more possibilities for solutions, more opportunities to seize. But one person’s opportunity is another person’s distraction. And if you try to do everything, you will soon succeed at nothing.

As Stephen Covey so wisely advised, “Before you climb the ladder of success, make sure it’s leaning against the right wall.” So, that begs the question…

What is a distraction?

Macmillan Dictionary defines a distraction as:

  1. something that gets your attention and prevents you from concentrating on something else
  2. an activity that you can do for fun or entertainment.

A highly efficient society assumes that every distraction deserves to have the word evil before it. I love this definition, because it doesn’t demonize the thing; it even accentuates its positive, fun and entertaining side. Distractions are neutral. It’s your responses that give them their positive or negative charge.

Structure your pleasure!

Limits give you freedom to enjoy life’s pleasures without fearing they will overrun you. Structuring distractions allows what you love to inspire your work. So, just for today…

  • Name your biggest distraction.
  • Determine how much time you need to give it for balance in your life.
  • Commit to someone that you will do it.
  • Do it.
  • When you go back to work, observe how the quality of your work has changed.

I invite you to share your observations here or on the Wheel of Creativity Facebook page.

And join me here next Monday for the final step, and insights and actions you can take to put the pleasure back in productivity.