Productivity is Overrated

I just subscribed to Fabulous, a productivity habit tracking app. 

I want to be somebody else. I want to be productive and accomplished. 

I went through the initial steps on the app created by brilliant folks at Duke University. The first big milestone to conquer – based on the scholars’ recommendations – is to drink water. 

I clicked that I drank water – I got a flash of fabulous on my screen. 

When I scrolled for more positive behaviors (like writing daily), a warning popped up: 

Slow down! Don’t push it. Research indicates doing too much too soon does not work. 

I had already had my mug of hot lemon water – a new tidbit I started this week because I read that it is good for your liver, so clicking done felt like cheating. 

With impatience, I wondered, “Where in this app am I going to get the big shove to organize the dozens of chapters of Let Me Tell You: Lessons in Love and Life based on What Not to Do?”

Next, Fabulous asked about exercise. My book does not exist because I exercise. It is my thing and has been for forty years. Working out is my procrastination preference. I get on the Peloton (or do some other heart-pumping movement) 350/356 days a year. And I’m game for a walk anytime. 

Walking is my ticket to fake productivity. Ah, I should write. I think I’ll go for a walk and think about it. Poof! Time to get on a Zoom call. Where did the time go? 

I journal often, and according to Fabulous, this fulfills my creativity goal. Why don’t I feel, well, fabulous?  

This week, I also started meditating for five LONG minutes a few times a day. Today was easier. Maybe day four is the deal maker in feeling at one with myself and the universe.

After feasting on chocolate Easter bunnies and Swedish fish, I quit sugar three days ago. 

Fabulous warns I’m headed for failure. Better to commit to one thing at a time.  

Screw that. I want time to speed up and be the new me, the productive lady (yes, lady) who lives in the house on the hill who daily seeks and spews inspiration. 

Fabulous says – hold your horses.

I say – my stable is full.

The app prevents me from advancing to the deep stuff – like being really . . .  I’m not sure … but it is something big that makes a difference – that helps others know they are not alone in their fear, heartache, and sense of inadequecy and failure. I want others to embrace that life is so worth it, so quirky, to fascinating, so God-filled. I want to share the perspective that mistakes are God’s way of pointing us to happier paths.   

I think if I hurry up and adopt a bunch of productive, life-enhancing habits, I will create a new me. And then I’m curious about the outcome. I want it to be next month, so I can see a different Nancy in the mirror. Time feels sluggish.

And then, suddenly, I am grateful in the peace of the present. Tick slowly, clock. This is enough, this moment. I’m blessed.

And my “butt is in the chair” as Anne Lamott says about writing.  

And being right here is all I got, Fabulous or not. 

Ironic, isn’t it?

2 thoughts on “Productivity is Overrated

  1. Caroline Cochran

    This post resonates with me so much – I do all the things and then wonder why I don’t feel Fabulous! Its the deeper stuff that matters, the rest is more like window dressing. You are FABULOUS and so am i! 🙂

    1. Nancy Scannell Post author

      We are! The “deeper stuff” is what matters. I have to remember that! Thanks, Caroline!


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