We live in a culture which loves to be always on the move. In fact, we tend to rate our value on how “productive” we are. If we write so many thousands of words, get to as many functions as possible, make “x” dozens of cookies before 8AM, or stencil the garden fence1 we can sit back and say we have been “productive.” We’ll even make sure to share the news with people so they can agree we have been productive, and therefor have worth.
I certainly do not value laziness, but I also think our preoccupation with “productivity” is hugely over-rated. It could also be spiritually destructive.
How do we measure the productivity of learning in a way which matches the easily measurable achievements of the cookie-bakers of the world? How do we quantify the value of time spend reading a book and reflecting on it’s content? How can we possibly spend time in prayer is time when it means the the dishes could remain unwashed2 while we’re meditating? Isn’t spending time with friends is a reward for being productively busy3, and not a worthwhile end in itself?
I say to our cult of productivity, “Meh.” Yes, I have tasks to do, and I do them. I even try to do them to the best of my abilities. But I’m done with feeling inwardly guilty for not checking off enough boxes before Lunch rolls around. It doesn’t make any sense. Busy productivity, with its instant results, only burns me out. My soul craves pause to play and explore and create simply for the sake of seeing what I can make. Sure those skill may translate into “productivity” later, but without that time of thoughtfulness, I’d never accomplish anything.
Our culture needs to slow down and grasp the wonders all around us. A slow drive along a river is always a good place to begin.