Obsessed With Productivity

Obsessed With Productivity

There comes a point where an obsession with productivity has made us unproductive. For me, I saw how I became so involved with so many different things that I lost sight of what was really important.

I’m sitting on a piece of log. It’s 7:43 in the morning, and I’m surrounded by an evergreen meadow. The only thing I hear is the sound of myself typing on this laptop.

I was supposed to come out here to work on some homework. I have a few assignments to catch up on, but there’s something magical about being in the middle of nowhere. You kind of just realize your work isn’t the most important thing right now.

The more important thing right now is to be still.

Be. Still.

Those two words are so convicting because they command something so simple, and yet, when are we every really still?

This year, I have been challenged to, get this, be more unproductive. Why? Because I have been obsessed with productivity in the last few years.

Obsessed is a loaded word, and I hate to use it to describe an aspect of who I am, but it’s true. I can’t just sit down and not be doing anything!

If I’m sitting down with nothing to do, I pull out my phone to respond to messages, scroll through some emails, and make sure I’m up-to-date with all of my social media accounts.

If I realize I have a few days out of the week where I have extra time on my hands, I look out for new activities I can get involved in.

If I have a day off, I quickly plan a trip out to a place I’ve never been before.

And I’m not saying that all of this is completely bad, because truth be told, I’ve been able to get involved with a lot of meaningful things and meet a lot of great people and make awesome memories through my involvements.

But there comes a point where my productivity has made me unproductive.

I become so involved with so many different things that I lose sight of what is really important - loving God, loving people, and enjoying life’s simple, beautiful moments.

As I’m writing this, there’s a group of a few sheep, goats, and llamas (again, I’m in the middle of nowhere), and watching them has got me thinking. They all move slow, they chew the grass they’re eating slow, and they don’t do a whole lot. They’re just eating and observing the world around them.

I can’t remember the last time I acted like them, where I just was not rushing, not talking, eating my food slowly, and just being invested in the environment I was in. I can’t remember the last time I was as peaceful as the sheep, the goats, and the llamas.

Now, I’m not putting down productivity. Being productive, working hard, and being involved with cool things and going to neat places are essential aspects of living a meaningful life.

But it’s when you overdo it, when your identity becomes wrapped in how productive you are, that you lose sight of the things around you that truly matter.

If your life moves too fast, you may really just miss out on the whole point of it all.

Here’s a prayer that my boss sent me when she noticed I was becoming overwhelmed with doing and not being.

A Prayer for When Life Moves Too Fast

We confess our tendency to worship productivity and that our exhaustion is often the result of our own obsession.

Show us how to walk at Jesus’ pace.

Remind us that our souls aren’t made for hurry but to find their rest in You.

Teach us the sound of our Father’s voice so that we can move to the unforced rhythms of grace.

Reveal to us our own assignment and empower us to do our own thing well.

Give us the courage to define our own margins, to be people with a strong no and a thoughtful yes.

May this season of thanksgiving be for us a sweet reminder of Your presence in our everyday moments.

Encourage us as we wait for results.

Comfort us as we listen in the darkness

Slow us down in Your presence we pray.

- by Emily P Freeman

Cover Image Credit: News of Kings Point

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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