Productivity is overrated

Mental Health

17 December, 2021

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Podcast manager by day, reader, crocheter & introvert by night, and all-around lover of everything business. From tips and tricks to insights and inspiration, we'll explore the wild world of podcasting and entrepreneurship together. Let's make some magic happen!

Hi, I'm Lauren!

Perhaps rather morbidly, something I’ve been obsessed with bringing up throughout my life is the concept of my deathbed. I’ll mention it to my friends when they are torn on making a decision, I’d say it to myself when I was caught up in a job I hated and wanted to quit and I’d say it when I was tired and didn’t really want to go out-out but I knew deathbed-Lauren would regret it.

I just cannot bear the thought of nearing the end of my life, wishing there was something I had done that I never got round to, lying there in regret. (I almost never think about regretting things that I have done – YOLO lol.)

Why am I telling you about my deathbed, I hear you ask? Well, there’s something in business and “modern day life” in general that attempts to thwart my efforts to walk up to the pearly gates in peace.


The whole notion of productivity, in my mind, is outdated. In one sense, because a productive day is different for everyone (I’m thinking of when I was in the throes of a deep depression, and “get up”, “have a shower” and “eat” were on my daily to-do lists and if I got all three, then BINGO – productivity) and in another sense, because automation and tech have worked wonders on so many businesses and freed up an outrageous amount of time to be put to use elsewhere. 

Think about the days before the internet (pre-1983, in case you were wondering) and what business might have been like then (thankfully, I wasn’t there!). Everything would have been done by a human, painstakingly, with frequent mistakes (because humans do make mistakes – a blog post for another day) and a lot of wasted time (trips to research things at the library!). Compare that to now, where we can get computers to do SO MUCH for us (think quick Googles, automations and programs designed to save time) and we are still expected to work 7-8 hour days (or longer). 

How can we be expected to remain productive for those 7, 8, 9 hours when in the past probably only 3-4 of those were “productive hours”? Why has the advent of technology meant that we have to work harder, not smarter?

A lot of what I’m talking about refers to being an employee, but I’ve noticed so much of this attitude on Instagram around “being productive”. From posting stories of your coffee and today’s to-do list of about 18 items, to chatting about how you’ve been working all day on a Sunday “to get ready for the week”. Great, if you’re that sort of person – but I think so many of us get caught up in wanting to compete with these “ideals”. When I go to share my to-do list for the day and it’s only 2-3 things, I often delete it, because I don’t feel like a “real” business owner who can compare to the one who has 17 1:1 clients (I don’t, FYI). Instead, I wait for a day when I’ve put things off and I have 10 things to get done (and I feel overwhelmed in the process). When I’m out exploring London or watching films on a Sunday, I think “should I be getting ready for my week?” or is it okay to do that on a Monday morning?

So – this, my very first blog, is for us – those of us who try to compete, but shouldn’t, for our own sanity and mental health. Those of you who can get 45 things done in a day – please don’t ever get complacent about your ability to work for such long hours, it doesn’t come easily to everyone!

And, as a final signing-off thought, it’s totally okay to love your business but not want to work all the time, or to always jump out of bed on a Monday morning excited to start your day. I love my personal time very much; I’m a massive introvert and I really do love nothing more than reading, doing a puzzle or playing video games with a cup of tea and a biscuit (or three… oops). I love my business too, but my mental health is always more important.

What do you think? Can you keep going for 7-8 hours or are you in my work-smarter crew?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my first blog, and will come back for more!

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