Eventually, unless we meet a tragic end, we’ll all look back and evaluate what we’ve achieved during our lifetime. Maybe that would include building or contributing to a business, successfully producing and raising a family, creating art, or simply surviving life’s struggle, or all of the above. Whatever it is, it comes down to productivity. And it matters.
Without answering philosophical questions like “what is the meaning of life,” not many of us will arrive later in life without reflecting on whether we are satisfied with what we’ve accomplished, what we’ve done? It’s a matter of productivity.
Productivity is defined as net positive contribution. To view productivity in reverse (unproductively), the question would be whether we were producing junk, problems, causing harm to others or ourselves, including long periods of wallowing in inertness.
For the sake of analysis, let’s say we live to 90 years of age. Let’s also say we begin productivity at age 25, which gives us plenty of time to mature and educate ourselves. Then perhaps we want to slow down at 65 and retire (whatever that means). That gives us 40 years of full productivity. Not a bad chunk of time to produce (and leave) something positive.
We don’t have to stop being productive at 65. Many do a lot more than just survive until the end. For some, productivity never ends. Unfortunately for others, it never begins.
Even if we face physical or emotional challenges, productivity matters. It matters because we steer ourselves to get better or worse. We improve whatever we are doing or we don’t. On a cellular level, there is massive activity. Our challenge is making sure the accumulation of that activity is productive.
What keeps us productive is planning or anticipating events. It could be protecting basic needs, accumulating more stuff, the next vacation, creating projects, building something new, but we are planning, doing, creating, either productively or unproductively.
Productivity is a lot of things. Playing and having fun is highly productive. Too much self-indulgence in any one thing though may not be. Relaxing, chilling out, doing nothing for periods of time is productive. Too much, and we might slip down the slope. At time, productivity may simply be slowing down degradation.
We are built to be productive. Not kept in check, productive energy can turn destructive. Don’t let anyone tell you, including yourself, that productivity doesn’t matter.