It’s not actually the thing; it’s the thing under the thing that’s driving us.
I had a session with someone recently and it started with him saying, “I don’t go to my office as early as I used to and I want to go earlier.” And when I questioned why, he said, “Because I want to be more productive. My team is not producing as effectively when I’m not there and I want to be there so we can be a more productive office.”
On a strategic, behavioral level, we can do lots of different tweaks to have that happen. But my question is, what’s underneath that? It’s important to recognise what the underlying motivation is: it’s a driver to feel productive. Which means somewhere in the current internal reality is an experience of: I’m not productive. In other words, judgement and self-criticism.
So let’s dig a little deeper and explore. What are you producing when you’re being productive? My belief is that we are never unproductive, rather, what we’re producing changes moment to moment. Every moment I’m breathing, I’m producing carbon dioxide. Some moments I’m producing pats for dogs. Some moments I’m producing sweat for the body to excrete toxins. Some moments I’m producing mind-altering ideas for others (aka content) like right now. We’re always producing something. So we have to be clear; when we’re using the term “productive” what do we actually mean?
What specifically do you want to be producing? And why is that important to you?
In this example of a person who wants to feel more productive, we can do all the behavioral tweaks to shift the attention to a feeling of productiveness from the office space. But since this person’s context is that he is close to retirement, I wondered if that might not be the most useful strategy… Instead I invited him to consider: what are you doing with your time when you’re not at the office? How are you investing your attention and your energy in that capacity, and what are you producing in that space? Are there some stories about the value of that product that you might benefit from challenging and changing?
These are the questions I put to you today, love. Presuppose you are productive. What are you producing and when? Why is that important to you? And how might you celebrate and acknowledge yourself for that?
I also invite you to release the judgment against yourself. Appreciate that some part of you needs the thing you’re producing during the time you had previously judged as unproductive. For example, if you’re watching videos on YouTube rather than working on a project, what are you gaining from that? It’s very important that we learn to see ourselves as an integrated whole, and we learn to appreciate each aspect of ourselves.
If this is something you struggle with and you would like some support, feel welcome to pop your details in for a seva session. I’m offering extra this month, so feel welcome to request one. I’m honored and delighted to help you explore your internal reality and discover how productive you truly are.