Surviving the traps of productivity

Surviving the traps of productivity

In my recent existential crisis, not only did I decide to reorient the content of the blog and my ambition to make a living out of it, but I also revisited the way I approach productivity as a whole. Today’s blog post is the result of my reflections on the topic.

First of all, as a productivity blogger, I want to admit that I am guilty of most of the sins I will highlight in this post. Most of us productivity gurus try to make you work harder, achieve more goals and get more done. That is the common definition of being productive in today’s corporate world.

On the verge of that trend, some of the influencers are gradually starting to change this definition, focusing more on achieving the right things and guarding your time to stay focused on your priorities. After reading books like The ONE Thing and Essentialism, I switched gears in my perception of what productivity should be, but the content I was putting out seemed more aligned with the traditional meaning. I want to change that from now on.

Efficiency at all cost

One of the things that I reproach to the idea that way have of productivity lately is this idea of efficiency at all cost. We get burned out trying to accomplish more things than ever and we have no time for our families and our friends, our nights are short and our health suffers. Eventually, our ability to get things done is hindered by sleepless nights and high levels of stress. Our work output lessens and the quality of this work is affected by our poor cognitive functions. We work more, but produce crappy results.

Leaving our priorities in the rearview mirror

While we’re trying to go through our ever-growing todo lists, we tend to lose sight of our priorities. It’s easy to send our kids watching TV while we’re sending another weekend email to our coworkers. Or checking our phone on a date with our wife. Our most meaningful relationships are the ones we tend to take for granted, but our kids won’t always be living at home and we’ll never get this time back. Or maybe we’re neglecting our favorite hobby, the thing that truly helps us disconnect from our job and leaves us refreshed and thinking creatively.


This dreadful thing you carry in your pocket can be your most helpful friend but is also your biggest persecutor. Yes I am talking about your smartphone. In my previous job, it was habitual for me to get text messages from my boss at 11pm asking me to take note of his latest idea. We have access to our work emails during our kids soccer practice and get LinkedIn requests at the theater. Notifications distract us and the fear of missing out becomes a real problem.

Productivity Zealot

I have been guilty of all of these faults, trying to accomplish more all the time. Since I’ve started reconsidering my approach to productivity, cramming less tasks into my todo list, I’ve been feeling guilty of having some free time on my schedule. When I write my list for the next day in my Bullet journal, I get squirmish if I have less than 5 tasks planned. It’s a real struggle!

Get the right things done

What I’ve come to realize is that, as long as what’s crucial is getting done, I don’t have to worry about the rest. Free time should be a blessing, not a burden. Cramming less stuff in my evenings mean that I have plenty of time for an impromptu existential discussion with my hubby. I can decide to go out for a drink on a weeknight with a friend. I can spend an hour in a hot bath with a book if I want to. I’ve decided to eliminate what is not vital and make time for what makes me feel awesome, what makes my heart sing.

Allow time for rest

Since I’ve revisited my attitude towards productivity, it’s funny, but I feel more efficient when I actually work on my crucial tasks. I attribute this new efficiency to the periods of rest that I have included in my schedule. I feel refreshed, I do not feel stressed or rushed, and I’ve been thinking more creatively, my work input have increased and I have closed more projects than ever before.

Focusing on healthy productivity

From now on, I decide to reorient the content of the blog to include more personal development and really living my mission of inspiring readers to take charge of their happiness. Productivity will still have a place on the blog, but with this new focus on healthy productivity. I want to have a positive message about efficiency and keep away from anything unhealthy, stressful or unrealistic about how to structure our todo list. I want to inspire you to take good care of yourself and steer clear from productivity for the sake of productivity.

In closing, I would like to know : what does healthy productivity mean to you? What unhealthy practice will you try to eliminate to take better care of yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Merci, merci ! Certaines phrases sonnent très juste. Même si ce sont des choses que l’on sait, inconsciemment on retourne à son smartphone, à ses mails le mercredi après-midi… on ne vit qu’une fois pourtant !
    En reconsidérant notre consommation, on a réalisé qu’on pouvait vivre mieux avec moins, ce qui m’a permis d’alléger mon emploi du temps d’entrepreneuse. Je suis libérée, délivrée, même s’il y a encore quelques nids de poule !

    1. Merci Camille pour ton commentaire! Heureuse de voir que mes propos prennent écho!
      Je pourrais peut-être écrire sur la consommation dans cette perspective, merci pour l’idée!


      1. Je t’en prie ! En fait il s’agit d’un cercle vertueux : j’ai quitté un emploi qui ne me convenait plus, trop de déplacements, de stress, supérieurs pas corrects… mes revenus ont donc considérablement baissé.
        Il a fallu trouver une solution pour dépenser moins d’argent tous les mois, ça a nécessité une mise à plat de notre budget familial.

        On a pour l’instant la chance que cela fonctionne plutôt bien ! Et en se penchant sur la manufacture de la plupart des choses (vêtements, gadgets), on réalise que ce sont des choses dont on n’a pas besoin et surtout, qui font du mal à la planète et à nos valeurs. C’est un raccourci bien sûr, mais disons que je vis très bien le fait de moins consommer…

        1. C’est vraiment intéressant! Heureuse que tu aies trouvé quelque chose qui te convient bien!