People often think that they are spending their time productively, but there is hardly any improvement in the quantity or quality of their work or in their lives. It is because they are being unproductively productive. In other words, they think they are being productive, but are fooling themselves.

There are two ways to be unproductively productive.

How familiar does this sound? You decide to embark on the journey of self-improvement. You decide that from tomorrow you will meditate in the morning, workout in the afternoons and read in the evening. Miracle! Miracle! You actually follow through it for the rest of the week, great. But, you hardly see any improvement in your life and you wonder why.

If you think of it, the answer is obvious. You want to run a marathon, but you are training for a hundred metre dash. Though all three of the above activities will bring an improvement in your life and will benefit you in several ways, but they may not necessarily align with your goals. This is how many people often end up being unproductive even though they might think that their activities should lead them to be ultra-productive (Guilty Mind: I swear I had the best intentions). To avoid this error, one should remove things hindering his/her productivity and add things directly related to their goals, after which to tweak their life to a higher optimum level they could add things like meditation which might improve your lives and help you reach your goals faster, but does not have an enormous impact (meditation and eating healthy might align with your goals directly, these are just examples).

The second way people often are productively unproductive is when they spend too much time learning about different apps, productivity techniques, and self-development. There is no harm in learning, it is in fact great. It becomes harmful when you are not actually applying what you learn, as a result you are not productive though you are spending hours learning about it. Also, too much information will only confuse you instead of helping you. In short focus more on working than following the latest productivity youtuber or buying the latest trendy book.

If you spend all your time learning to optimize or trying to optimize your work and life you will never work. The first step is to actually work, deduce what are the flaws, and then optimize. Optimizing when you don’t work as much as you should is like pretending and convincing yourself that you drive a Ferrari when you don’t even own a car. 

It is time for you to get to work!

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Samarth Khanna

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