Beyond Getting Stuff Done

By Leo Babauta

I’ve noticed that so many of us are incredibly focused on getting stuff done. Productivity systems and tools, anxiety about being behind on all the things we have to do, a complete focus on all the stuff to do, at the exclusion of all else …

But here’s the thing: if you ever get really really good at executing and getting stuff done … you realize that it’s an empty, meaningless game. I’m a testimony to that – I’m very good at getting things done. And I can absolutely crush my task list for months on end. And at the end of all of that, I still don’t feel much more satisfied.

There’s some satisfaction in getting a bunch of things done, but that’s not what really drives us. What drives us is fear – fear of what will happen if we fall too far behind, if we drop all the balls we have in the air, if we can’t get a sense of self-worth through accomplishment. Our fear is really about what it will mean about ourselves if we don’t get stuff done.

That fear never goes away, no matter how much you get done. It’s like a sex addict who has a ton of sex, and still doesn’t feel fulfilled, and has to go get more. We’re addicts who are never fulfilled.

What would happen if we decided not to play that game? If we could set aside for a moment the fears that drive us, the hope that we’ll ever finish everything, the hope that we’ll somehow get a feeling of being good enough if we are good at getting things done?

What’s beyond all of that?

I don’t know the answer, but here’s what I’m finding:

Those are a few observations I’ve found in the space beyond getting stuff done. What might you find there?