You Are Not Unproductive, Your Work Is Just Pointless
We have all had those days where we have completed our work yet still feel unproductive. Here is why we feel like that, and the alternative to our 9-5.
We have all had those days where we sat at our desks feeling unproductive. It was not that we were not getting anything done, but the work did not feel productive.
Unfortunately, these days are becoming all too common for most of the population. Many of the articles you will read concerning work tell you that people are not happy or productive at work.
There is a rise in the number of people complaining about their leaders and their 9–5. People seem to hate their work, and everyone has their own solutions to the problem. Some say it is because the job is not purposeful, and others say it is because the environment is not flexible enough.
Many of the great thinkers of the past did not see a future world like this either. Instead, they envisioned a world where there was balance, and people enjoyed their jobs.
John Maynard Keynes, an English economist, believed that we would have hit an economic Utopia by 2030. Due to technological advancements and increased wealth in society, he believed that everyone’s basic needs would be met with ease. That meant a reduction in the number of hours we would work a week. To his calculations, it would be about 15 hours.
Well, we have passed all of the thresholds required to create an economic utopia already. In fact, we passed it by 1990. Yet still, we work the same amount of hours as those back in the 1930s and show no sign of dropping off.
We have all the technology we need to build a world where everyone’s basic needs are met, and we can work way fewer hours. However, due to our innate nature to work and increase productivity, we are straying away from the potential utopia we have built.
It is our very drive to become more productive and to continue doing better that is causing us to feel unproductive. After all, if we have resources there to make our lives easier, we have to cherry-pick to find gaps that do not often have to be filled. As a result, we create jobs that are not meaningful and only fill the time of another human.
So, if we could have a utopia, why do we resist it? And why do we constantly demand working long hours for the sake of it?
We Have a Fear of Going Hungry
Despite our extreme wealth and abundance, we still fear that we are not doing quite enough. Thanks to our desire to feel secure, we are constantly pushing to create more than we need.
We live in a world where we waste more food than we eat. And where we have more products than people will ever wear. We probably all have a bunch of clothes just sitting somewhere that we do not wear anymore.
We overconsume. And unfortunately, we do it religiously. We are constantly seeking the next thing, never satisfied and always want more than we need. And all of this is driven by our desire to feel safe and happy.
For the most part, we want to believe that we are in a safe position. So, we create a world full of too many choices to pick from to make sure we never run out of choice. We produce a world with too much food in it to make sure we never go hungry.
As a result, many of us have jobs that are effectively doing just that. The majority of our jobs are one of two things:
- A job that can be 50% replaced by an intelligent robot.
- A job that is creating more than what society needs.
Both of these outcomes are unproductive. If you are the first scenario, 50% of your job is probably doing manual processes that are long and repetitive. And if you are the second, your output is never used or brings very little value to the companies revenue.
We have our ancestors to thank for our tremendous work ethic. For it is they who worked hard to give us the foundations of what we have. Such as finding groundbreaking discoveries, building machines and creating wealth. However, it is this very same work ethic that has given us this abundance that may drive us to unproductivity and stress.
There is no wonder why people are constantly searching to be more productive. It makes sense why people believe they are lazy and lack ambition. It is because, for the most part, their work is pointless. It does not add much value. So, how do we overcome this problem?
Switching to an Abundant Mindset
It is clear as day that our economy produces more than we need. All you need to do is take a walk around a supermarket and see the number of options you have.
We all indirectly and directly help build the economy we have today. Our jobs, whatever sector we are in, contributes to the overall output of the economy.
So, it is up to us to change the economy we have built. Thankfully, the environment is also telling us that we need to slow down due to global warming.
Our fear of going hungry is driving us to take more than we need, and it has left many of us greedy. We must shift our mindsets from one of scarcity to one of abundance. We do this by simply acknowledging that there is more than enough in the world for you and others.
We do not need to rush to success because there is enough success to be obtained. We do not need to have a tonne of choices to choose from because we can be happy with a few. Also, we do not need to take more than we require because there is more of wherever that came from.
When we switch to an abundant mindset, we can appreciate what we have rather than focus on what we do not. It is with this mindset we can build the economic utopia envisioned by Keynes.
We can live in a world where people work less and spend more of their time doing what they love. Instead of worrying about buying that flashy car or that second house, people will realise that they already have more than enough.
I am not saying that ambition and drive are bad things. It is clear that they are necessary for the success of our economy, or else we would not be in this position. However, I believe we have reached an era where both these qualities can be better allocated.
Instead of using these qualities to produce more than we need (unproductive), we can use them to get what we truly want. Over the lockdowns, we all became what we wanted. Many of us opened online businesses, picked up writing, became bakers or chefs.
For many, their 9–5 has become an unproductive task because it is. But you are not unproductive. When you have nothing to do, you find work you are passionate about and produce better things for the world.
Therefore, I urge you today to create your own utopia. Even if the world never appreciates what they have, you can do it for yourself. Become content with what you have and start doing work that makes you feel productive.
After all, productivity is not just a numerical value that can be calculated, it is a feeling. You could do one thing in a day and feel like a champion, and do 100 and feel like you did nothing.
So, take the first step in practising an abundance mindset by being appreciative of what you have. Then, take the second step and start doing what you love.
I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.