Are we enslaved to productivity?

We live in a high tech information Society, trying to drink from a firehose of information — as David Allen so vividly put it — consuming blogs, twitter updates, facebook statuses, RSS feeds, podcasts, books…
We’re also expected to crank out tasks at an equally dense rate. We write, we blog, we work, we construct, we devise, we plan, we toil, we sweat. It seems never enough.

Leo Babauta writes in the Power of Less:

‘ There has never been an age in whick we could get so much done so quickly. (…) There has also never been an age in which we were so stressed by the incredible demands of our lives’.

This rises the question:

Are we really enslaved to productivity?

Let me share a story with you:
Today I listened to the Daily Audio Bible podcast and had a major BFO (a Blinding Flash of the Obvious!) When I heard the story of the people of Israel’s Exodus out of Egypt.
The people of Israel had been enslaved to Pharaoh of Egypt, being forced into labouring daily, building bricks. One day they asked time off to sacrifice to their God. To numb that inclination, Pharaoh let them work even harder. He decreed that they had to produce even more in less time.
And here was the kicker:’ You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks’, he said.

And isn’t that story not the story of our lives too?
Let’s pretend we are the people of Israel and Pharaoh is our inner slavedriver egging us on to produce more, more, more, every day, by no means reducing our number of bricks, i.e. tasks.

We make resolutions that won’t stick as well as we hoped for; stuck in the rut of productivity. This could be a hope-less life.

But, to quote Jamie Haith of Holy Trinity Brompton church:

‘Rules, regulations, resolutions, they don’t bring hope. We are in need of a Savior, one who is right here and able to save us (…) we need the kindness and love of Jesus’.

So instead of exhausting ourselves on the productivity treadmill we need hope.

‘Hope is not about what isn’t. Hope is always about what isn’t yet.’(www.incourage.me).

Speedily we work on our endless to-do lists or even worse: our heads are crammed with to-do items, what-ifs, someday-maybe’s or fretful busyness. We immerse ourselves in the treadmill of frantic activity, not to — I guess — feel the emptiness of our existence.

My wish for you is to enjoy being productive, in the flow, in the present moment and get to know the One who is the embodiment of hope itself.
Have a hopeful day!

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3 thoughts on “Are we enslaved to productivity?

  1. This post titled “Enslaved to Productivity” I found
    very inspiring. I really like your closing statement
    About speedily working on our endless to-do lists.

    But even so, I have found a way to be productive
    as an artist creating works of art that are real and
    tangible.

  2. To do lists, het voelt als een eerste levensbehoefte, maar de ervaring leert me ook dat wanneer het briefje ineens weg is, “the mind”er een drama van maakt maar het leven vanzelf zorgt voor het afwerken van deze lijst. Wat komt dat komt.
    Misschien moet ik me om “the mind”het zwijgen op te leggen af en toe nog meer focussen op de kinderen om mij heen. De kinderen die vaak alleen nog maar “zijn”, niets meer, niets minder. En dan komt mijn to-do vanzelf!
    liefs Annemarieke

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