Nathaniel Drew on where to find the balance between our pursuit of a more productive life and our need for a fulfilling life.
“It is not that we have a short time to live but that we waste a lot of it.” Those were words that Seneca said, and I am breaking my head trying to figure that out, because I just feel like there’s this constant push to do more, and I feel like I’ve gotta fill my time with as many experiences as possible.
And I think there is a wonderful aspect to that, but then there’s a part of me that feels like it’s running. It’s running from something. There’s a scary truth. I spend a lot of time kind of thinking about why I’m so interested in productivity and having more order in my life and y’know, just being more structured in general. And it’s making me think that maybe even productivity itself is a distraction to a bigger question.
I think he’s nailed it here. It’s easy for productivity to end up feeling like an end instead of a means. Our time is limited. It makes sense to use that time judiciously. But that can easily tick over into a fear of allowing a moment to pass which isn’t crammed full of activity and arbitrarily labelled achievement.
Perhaps the bigger question is; Why am I doing this? Productivity is great at answering the how, but it’s the why which will sustain us through our lives.