Transgressing Meaning, Productivity and Focus

focused life

In the previous few posts we were discussing about some stepping stones to get started on our journey towards a meaningful and productive life. It may be quite confusing why I stress what meaningful and productivity really means. Isn’t productive life a meaningful one? Or, isn’t a meaningful life a productive one?
So, in this article we will be discussing how both a meaningful and a productive life are interconnected!
I’ll also be introducing something I call as ‘Focused life’ at the end.

Things that matters most

When I started out on this journey a few months back to ‘reinvent me’ , I too got confused by these words. Many self help books that I referred often used the word ‘meaning’. When you take that word in a subtle sort of fashion, you may feel that it’s not that much complicated, isn’t it?
We all know what ‘meaning’ means!
But it’s not actually true.
Let’s break the shell..
Here’s my theory,

Life becomes meaningful by doing things that actually matters most or simply things that are most valuable to us!

Even if you understood the meaning of life philosophically, its still hard to execute such a life. It wasn’t that much hard a few years ago. But today in an increasingly distracted digital age its extremely hard to have a meaningful life!

What made me to say that leading a meaningful life or doing things that matters most is hard today?
We are all hyper-connected than ever before. We are ought to lead an online and offline life at the same time. You have to be ‘connected’ to ensure your existence is true!! Overwhelmed by the abundance of information we are dealing with you do have to go through that news feed on your facebook wall or you need to reply to all those ‘urgent’ mails on your email inbox ASAP or you need to say good morning to all those good morning messages on that application(s) you use on your phone before you even say a single good morning to your kids or your partner sleeping next to you. Even in your workplace you need answer to that different sort of mails and messages you receive ‘ASAP’.

A Study by Sir Cary Cooper

Sir Cary Cooper, a professor of organizational psychology, made waves at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference by identifying British worker’s always-connected e-mail culture as a factor in the UK’s falling productivity. This study was in 2015 and it is interesting and also extremely scary even to imagine the level of productivity with the advent of new ‘productive networking tools’ that we use in our workplaces alongside with the email.
The workers of today believe they need to use these tools( eg: email ) to become productive but as the study shows it actually reduced your outcome and you weren’t productive at the end!
So do the workers were able to do any meaningful work? NO!
Because they weren’t doing things that actually mattered most in their workplace. In a workplace it doesn’t matter how much advanced tools you use or how much effort you put into. It doesn’t matter how much busy you are and you cannot use busyness a proxy for your productivity. Productivity comes from the end product and how much services each worker were able to deliver to the firm within their allotted work time.
It’s true in our life too.
Only through leading a meaningful life we can produce a productive life.

Focused Life= Meaningful life + Productive Life

Focus is the only word I can use to substitute both meaning and productive.
Unless you don’t have the ability to focus on things that matters most you are not productive.
More than that even you have certain levels of productivity or planning, none of them contribute to a happy life if you are not focused.
No amount of planning, productivity or accomplishment will provide you an interesting and happy life if you allow your mind to run amok.
Even you take a decision to sit down and finish a work you are dragged back to that news feed or your daydreams about your quixotic future fantasies!
That’s what all those inboxes, instant messages and news feeds are making us. We are constantly distracted from our tasks and are making us less accomplished.
We need to choose where our attention should belong to. Life is a sum total of what we focus on. You will be productive if you focus on things that matters most. It will provide us meaningful life and also a happy life!
We need to train our mind to focus on such things. We will be discussing about focus more in the future and training our mind to focus as it is crucial in building a good life. As Gallagher says in Rapt,

I’ll live the focus life, because it’s the best kind there is.

(Photo by Stefan Stefancik)

For more in depth read about leading a focused life I recommend you to read Rapt and Deep Work. You can click on the links given on the sidebar to buy a copy of them from amazon!