2 min read

The Hidden Cost of Hyper-Productivity

The Hidden Cost of Hyper-Productivity
Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust / Unsplash

I've got this knack for squeezing productivity out of every nook and cranny of time. A run isn't just a run; it's a mobile classroom with the latest podcast episode. Lifting weights? An opportunity to mentally digest another chapter of an audiobook. Even moments meant for unwinding, like playing with my son, become multitasking marathons. My days are a whirlwind of doing more, always more, but rarely just being.

Then I stumbled upon a new episode of Bluey that's a simple story about a family trying to get to the beach, but Mum can't seem to stop and enjoy the moment. She's too caught up in the rush, missing the joy in the little things, like her kids exploring hotel rooms and marveling at ribbon-wrapped toilets. It hit me like a freight train—these cartoon dogs were living more in the moment than I was.

Derek Sivers' tale sealed the deal for me. The man turned a regular bike ride into an experiment on effort versus enjoyment. Pushing to the limit, he'd complete his fifteen-mile ride red-faced and exhausted in forty-three minutes.

Then, deciding to take it down a notch, he discovered the joy of a leisurely ride, dolphin watching and all (plus an unforgettable pelican encounter). In the article, he says,

"I’m usually so damn driven, always doing everything as intensely as I can. It was so nice to take it easy for once. I felt I could do this forever, without any exhaustion. When I finished, I looked at the time: forty-five minutes. Wait — what?!? How could that be? Yep. I double-checked: forty-five minutes, as compared to my usual forty-three."

The kicker? Slowing down only added two minutes to his ride but transformed the experience from draining to rejuvenating.

Sivers' insight was a revelation. That relentless drive to maximize every second wasn't just diminishing returns; it was robbing me of joy. It's not about how fast or how much you can do; it's about the quality of the journey. So here's to dialing back, to learning from animated pups and seaside cyclists. Maybe it's time we all found our beach, slowed down, and really saw the sea for the first time.

And you, reading this, when was the last time you allowed yourself to just be? To soak in a moment without thinking about the next task on your list?