zenhabits : breathe

10 Signs You’re a Productivity Junkie

Article by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead, follow him on twitter.

Increasing your productivity can be a great thing. It can free up more time for leisurely activities like laying on the beach, barbecuing and watching movies. It can give you more time for the things you love. More time for family, friends and pursuing your passions.

But there’s a point where you can take productivity too far. It can become more of a hobby than a means to an end. Just like a little too much self-help can hurt rather than help (too much thinking, not enough doing), obsession with efficiency can distract you from what really matters.

If you’ve ever found that you spend more time organizing and making lists, than you actually do getting things done, you might have a problem.

Here are 10 signs you may be a productivity junkie:

  1. You wish you could create a keyboard shortcut for eat/sleep. Productivity has become more of a priority than enjoying meals and proper sleep. You end up looking for ways to minimize eating time (like juicing everything) or pursuing polyphasic sleep.
  2. You spend significant amounts of time comparing GTD systems with other life “hackers.” You like to browse pictures like this and this, on Flickr.
  3. Your kid tells you she skinned her knee and you say “what’s the next action?
  4. Improperly filing tasks on your color-coded to-do list is cause for serious disappointment. It has the potential to ruin your week.
  5. Conversations with friends are broken up by you jotting notes to yourself. People ask you if you’re writing a book and you reply “I just don’t want to forget any of this.”
  6. Keyboard shortcuts, Firefox extensions, and being a “power searcher” on Google cause you more arousal than watching a sex scene in a movie.
  7. You refer to drinking beer out of a coffee mug as “hacking” that mug. Some other forms of hacking include: turning a sweatshirt in to a skirt and using an iron to make grilled cheese.
  8. Sex with your spouse in on your someday/maybe list.
  9. Your music is sorted not by artist or album, but by the length of each song.
  10. You get things done, only to make more time to get more things done. The biggest sign you’ve become a productivity junkie is when you’ve lost site of the purpose for being productive… to have more free time.

By the way, aside from all this productivity bashing, there are some great blogs on meaningful productivity. Just a few are Productive Flourishing, Tools For Thought, Fluent Self, and The Art of Non-Conformity.

So what do you think? Can productivity be taken a little too far?

(PS: Thanks Leo for helping me come up with some of these)

This article was written by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead of Illuminated Mind. For more ways to avoid producitivitis, grab a subscription to Illuminated MInd.


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