A few weeks back, I found myself in the unusual situation of my lunch urging me to be more productive.


The instructions on my couscous advised me to go “smash something off your todo list” whilst I was waiting for it to heat through.

What kind of world is this, if productivity is so prevalent, it’s even in our lunches?

Well. Remember all those “The accountability hacks I used to blog 30,000 words in 30 days.” articles that were rampant on the internet a few years ago? (I should know because I wrote some of them).

The ones that urged you to do {{ridiculous thing}} so that you could achieve {{unachievable thing}}?

One of the reasons I stopped writing last year was that I felt self-improvement blogging had somehow gone above and beyond parody, to the point where I completely lost the desire to talk about this stuff.

But today I want to do two things: turn this productivity on its head, and start writing again.

So here goes…

The problem with being productive, is that when you’re not, you’re naturally drawn to class yourself as “unproductive”.

And because we’re chunks of flesh and blood not robots—at least not yet—then of course we’re going to have downtime, off periods… whatever you want to call them.. where we don’t get stuff done.

What can we do instead?

It might be it’s just the language that we use needs to change…

Since the dawn of agriculture, farmers have known that the land on which they grow crops needs time to recover.

So after each crop, there would be an allocated fallow period, where nothing was planted and the soil was allowed time to recover.

The field got a nice breather, and the worms and other wee beasties got time do their thing in the soil.

No pressure.

No label of the land being “unproductive”.

Just a fallow period.

I think we need to treat our own bodies and minds with the same respect.

We need to stop trying to be productive 24/7, and stop turning everything into a metric to be measured. Because then the “I’m not being productive” self-flagellation label might stop lying in wait for us.

If you’re feeling pressurised into constantly over-achieving, maybe it’s time to take a breather.

Here’s to fallow periods.

Posted to life in 2018.

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