What things are productive?

Recently I've been thinking about productivity, more specifically which things in my life I would consider to be productive. Now I'm going to go a bit semantical and define productive as working to produce something for some kind of personal reward, that reward doesn't have to be money – I think unfortunately capitalism and our fetishization of doing lots of “work” (more accurately working a lot) leads to certain words being muddied; Look at how drastically the meaning of the word work has changed, now work has become synonymous with “your main source of income” what a useless word, almost everyone hates their job. I was tricked by a similar changing of meaning when it comes to productivity but no longer, weight lifting? that's productive, reading? that's productive meditation? that's productive and so on.

The issue with how we currently see productivity is it's always centered around other peoples perception or money, I've spoken to a lot of friends about productivity and I've yet to hear anyone claim something they enjoy and would chose to do anyway is productive, think about how many people would consider reading a book about economics to be productive but wouldn't consider watching a youtube video about economics to be productive, now a good concern here is how much attention is paid but then it's just a matter of scale, neither task is inherently productive, you could skim read a book and I could watch, pause and make notes on a youtube video – so it's not the youtube video that is unproductive it's the engagement with it that defines if it's productive, I came to this realization when a friend was talking about podcasts he's listened to at work, then he whipped out a fucking notebook – the thought of taking notes on podcasts had never entered my mind I always saw them as passive, never as productive.

Lets take another example in which we describe a task without saying what the task is (it'll be easy to guess) Several time per week I set aside about an hour to complete this difficult task, I record all the data I can about it to hopefully improve and to ensure this task remains difficult to complete, some days it's very difficult and seems overwhelming but I do it anyway because I want to continue to progress. I even track my progress and have several long term goals I'm working toward, I've spent hours learning about this subject so that I can further improve and so my approach to it is as good as it can be. Is this task productive? More importantly does what the task is make any difference to if it's productive or not? We probably shouldn't start considering everything to be productive but the line between productive/unproductive seems to lie on you personally and how you chose to define it, Not based on what the activity itself is.

The point I'm trying to put forward is don't let some shit head bosses trick you into thinking you're not productive because you don't earn them more money, don't stress too much about productivity you're almost certainly more productive than you give yourself credit for.


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