Productivity and GTD
What's the Meaning of Productivity?
“Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.” ~ Stephen Hawking
Human beings, throughout history, have always played with the idea of reaching a status in which leisure is most of their time and work obligations are minimal. If we can avoid hard work and rush, better.
With the first industrial revolution, in the XVIII Century, many thought that the machines and the new factories would make everyone move away from monotonous jobs. However, people were working more and more and it wasn’t unusual to have 15-hours workdays.
The second industrial revolution, at the end of the XIX Century, with new technical developments and important progresses in transport and communications, the possibility of a new leisure era started to become clear again. There were people who predicted that in the year 2000 we would only have to work two hours per day and that we would have so much free time we wouldn’t know what to do with it. It turns out it’s not.
Technology keeps developing dramatically. There are many things we don’t need to do, because machines do them. And thanks to the current communications and internet, we can make an enormous amount of transactions without getting out of our house. Nevertheless, work keeps consuming most of our time. We work more hours and enjoy less our time.
Technology is a doble-edged sword. It helps us a lot with our work, but it also makes us work all the time. We cannot escape from the email or from our phones. We have access to everything from everywhere, so it turns out we are always “available”.
We are more productive than ever, but because of the wrong reason. In most cases, productivity’s goal is that of earning more money, and not having more free time. We live in a society that encourages us to purchase more and more goods.
Moreover, in the new Knowledge Era, companies expect us to do the job that earlier on was done by several. In many countries, working many hours has become a way of demonstrating you are worthwhile — even if it’s in an inefficient way, since being a good professional doesn’t mean working more hours..
To sum up, we have all sort of advances in order to live better, but we live in a continuous hurry and more stressed than ever (40% of labour leaves are related to stress, anxiety or depression).
I seriously believe that we should change the misunderstood concept of work and personal productivity. Because, at the end of the day, what’s the meaning of life? I am sure it’s not running without a purpose like a hamster in a wheel.
Using a personal management system that takes into account the meaning of your life, like Getting Things Done, is a big change in anyone’s life: it requires learning its principles and especially acquiring the necessary habits so that it works properly. You will need some months to bear fruit, but it’s the best way of getting out of that turning wheel in which we have all got in without noticing.