Open Letter To The Hobgoblin of Productivity

Dear You,

You know who you are.

You are the guilt hiding around the corner, whenever I think of something good to do in life that I haven’t already accomplished.

You wait to jump out at me as soon as I move towards something important, shouting that if I can’t go faster I might as well give up.

You make funny faces at every activity I do that isn’t obviously productive towards the “goal” you have decided will make me look good.

You dress up as people I know and wail about what a disappointment I am.

You have standards I can never live up to.

Even when I satisfy you, you sit poised waiting for a new inadequacy to appear, like a morbidly obese person waiting for the last bag of chips to digest so she can start the next one.

It’s okay.

I know what you are trying to do.

You are trying to keep me moving, so that I do what I want to in life.

You are trying to remind me of what other people want and need, so that I can help them too.

You are trying to push me to think bigger and do better than I imagined I could, so that I don’t settle for a life I don’t believe in.

Thank you. Your heart is in the right place.

It’s just that your suggestions are crap.

They don’t help.

Your productivity demands make things worse.

Because by always keeping me moving, I end up exhausted, and I do a crappy job at everything. I need rest. When I rest I feel good and make huge strides towards the goal at the same time. I do more in an hour after rest than in three days exhausted.

Because the barrage of angry voices telling me why I’m not doing good enough just discourages the hell out of me. I need to know that I’m doing good and get smiles to inspire me to do better. Then I know what direction to go in, and I have the energy to proceed.

Because by always setting a goal somewhere beyond the horizon, I can’t focus on the next step in front of me, and I keep falling flat on my face. If I can dream big and set real, achievable, good-feeling goals, then I can go somewhere.

So thank you, Hobgoblin of Productivity. I very much appreciate you.

I just need you to adjust how you perform your role.



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