Pros and Cons of Productivity: Weighing the Scales (2022)

Being productive might seem like a great thing to strive for and many chase it without ever stopping to question, Is it really what it seems? That is exactly what we are going to find out today by weighing the scales once and for all.

Productivity ProsProductivity Cons
Being productive gives you a sense of accomplishmentBeing productive is often confused with being busy
Better time managementOverworking or burning out isn’t the goal but often the end result of pursuing productivity
Provides assurance as you know what you’re doing and where you’re headingGives a false conviction that your dream is worth more than your sleep
Improves problem solving skillsProductivity doesn’t factor in your emotions or
well-being, only the pace of producing work matters, resulting in costing you mental peace
Challenges you to face pressureIt sets you up to fail as there’s no end to productivity (It’s a numbers game)
Procrastination killerProductivity is a conditional love
An important step in your self-improvement journeyMakes you more self-indulgent
7 Pros and Cons of Productivity.

Key Takeaways:

  • Productivity helps with a lot of necessary skills in today’s workaholic environment but often at the cost of one’s own health.
  • The easiest way to keep progressing and growing in work environments or in life without compromising on health is to make satisfaction the end goal. Being satisfied with our results is way more important than how fast we could produce.
  • Productivity isn’t about getting more things done in less time, it’s about getting the right things done.

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If you’re still not sure if the pros outweigh the cons then let’s figure out if trying to be productive is the right choice for you.

 

Who Productivity Is For?

The ability to get things done fast has a few cons as mentioned before which makes it challenging to recommend it to everyone.

To be truly productive, you need to detach the ego baggage that comes along with it. Working 15 hours a day isn’t something to be proud of, it is rather labor. Our goal is to cut down on that time without compromising the quality of work or our living.

If you can manage to walk a path which gets rid of the cons while retaining most of the pros then pursuing productivity makes sense. As to how we can do that depends on your self control, you are already aware of the cons, now you just have to watch out for them.

 

Advantages of Productivity

 

Being productive gives you a sense of accomplishment

Productivity is concerned with getting work done and once you hit the flow, you’ll be pouring out work like water.

With this a blast of energy and enthusiasm kicks in which motivates you to keep going and perform better than yesterday. And before you know it, you’ve crossed a lot on your to-do list. The final blow comes when the sense of accomplishment sets in, forcing you to believe you’re on the right track.

But are you?

Short answer:

Probably not, unless you pay close attention to the emotional aspect of the story (the cons dive deeper into this discussion).

 

Better time management

Time management is not a concern for productivity enthusiasts simply because they have a lot of it.

Going back to the basic idea of being productive comes down to more work done in less time. As work takes less time now, at the end of the day you’ll be left with an abundant amount of free time.

The question of time management only ever hits us when we don’t have enough of it, but being productive gives us the flexibility to enjoy our free time and not feel guilty of procrastinating.

Productivity forces you to use the time more efficiently when it comes to work and thus builds up better time management skills.

But how do we start prioritizing work?

We wrote an article on Time Management Matrix: The Complete Guide to walk you through this process, which we encourage you to read.

 

Provides assurance as you know what you’re doing and where you’re heading

Having a sense of control around tasks feels good as it makes you feel like you have a compass to navigate through everything.

But what if this compass got lost?

Productivity makes sure that never happens. When you’re clear about what you have to do for a given day and things are mostly pre-planned, you don’t find yourself to be lost.

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It keeps you away from being overwhelmed or being lost in your thoughts for that matter, as you know what you’re doing and where you’re heading thanks to planning which is an important part of productivity.

 

Improves problem solving skills

Productivity brushes up your problem solving skills along with countless others. You’ll find yourself thrown in multiple situations while working on your productivity, where you will have to come up with unique solutions.

Although not every tip works for everyone and thus you’ll have to adjust and fine tune tips you receive regarding productivity and make them work for you.

For some high achievers 4-5 hours of sleep is enough, this by no means says that you need to do the same to achieve results. You have a higher chance of hurting your levels of success in a particular field if you copy someone, without figuring out what works for you in the first place.

Figuring out what works for you requires you to try out different things at the end of which you’ll have your answer.

All this boils down to the fact that productivity in a way encourages you to solve problems.

 

Challenges you to face pressure

Facing pressure is a common thread today with children thrown into competitive mindsets early on to the corporate world bashing out their employees.

And no surprise this has led to increased levels of stress across the board, still students face most of the outburst as it compounds on them, forcing them to think of future problems that don’t exist for them right now.

Image Source: Research.com

Productivity thankfully is self-controlled which gives you the control over how much pressure you want to handle. Healthy stress levels work in our favor, as it keeps us on our toes making sure we don’t get too comfortable.

This gives a glimpse of how we can test our pressure handling skill in a controlled manner and use it to our advantage.

 

Procrastination killer

Procrastination is one of the biggest problems when it comes to transitioning over to productivity. Which is why it is one the first things we deal with.

We can do that by starting the day on the right foot which goes a long way to help face the rest of it. Which is why we encourage you to read the article we wrote on When to Wake Up to Be Productive.

But here’s the thing:

Feeling lazy which often ends up in procrastinating most of our work is the exact opposite of feeling productive. When we feel productive, we don’t necessarily need reasons to work because we just feel like doing something.

When sitting at one place doing nothing, starts to seem impossible, that is when your productivity levels have outplayed the procrastinating urges.

 

An important step in your self-improvement journey

Everyone’s self-improvement journey is different but they all have a clash point which you may have guessed by now is productivity.

It doesn’t matter where you started your improvement journey from but it does matter that it includes working on your ability to get things done effectively and efficiently. Productivity helps with that.

Alongside productivity comes assurance, better time management, problem solving ability and many more quirks which are extremely beneficial to add in your portfolio of skills.

This makes productivity an essential step in your self-improvement journey without which things can fall apart pretty quickly.

 

Disadvantages of Productivity

 

Being productive is often confused with being busy

On the outlook being busy and being productive may appear similar but in reality they couldn’t be far apart from each other.

Being busy is more about frantic work, multitasking your way through it which keeps it shallow. It is more about working harder and just mindlessly pouring yourself into something without questioning if there’s a more easy and obvious approach to it.

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Being productive on the other hand is about focused work sessions, sticking to a few or even a single task and engaging in deep work. Productivity is all about working smarter, not harder.

We know what you’re thinking:

Some days we are going to be busy no matter how hard we try to work our way out of it. This is alright and somewhat expected but what is not okay is you going on a rampage of isolation for weeks, where you are “too busy” to relax and enjoy.

 

Overworking or burning out isn’t the goal but often the end result of pursuing productivity

We’ve seen people getting burned out more often than we have seen them succeed productively.

There are countless productivity tips on how to overcome burnouts. But ironically following other productivity tips is what lands us in the spot where we feel burned out.

Although this is not the intention of those providing these tips, it is the sad reality for most people who follow them. This mostly has to do with pushing yourself “far” beyond your limits.

Expanding our comfort zone is undoubtedly one of the best things we can do. However expanding anything beyond 10% of your current limits is a stretch.

We recommend reading the article on Toxic Productivity to better understand the mentality behind this problem.

 

Gives a false conviction that your dream is worth more than your sleep

Working countless hours, pushing till late midnight to work on something you’re excited about is a great thing as long as it doesn’t turn into a habit.

The question is how many sleepless nights do you actually need?

Working in such progression gives a sense of pride but left unchecked will also assure your demise.

No more than a week of such intensity where you work for 15-16 hours a day is required. Sleep is one of the most important things for you to come back stronger next time.

It has a grasp over 1/3 of our lives and remains irreplaceable till date.

 

Productivity doesn’t factor in your emotions…

Productivity is only concerned with the pace of producing work. This would be fine if it was set for machines but here we’re talking about human beings.

We’re social creatures which means we need to take care of our emotions as much as we pamper ourselves physically.

Taking a day off sends alarms all around our brain, so much so that we fear even rationalizing it. Sure it takes a hit on productivity but any attempts to save that hit will end up wounding your health.

Mental peace is required for you to function and be at your best. You are the only person responsible to take care of yourself, be it physically, emotionally or psychologically. Don’t expect someone else to do it for you.

Take a second to remember:

Why did you choose to work in the first place? It probably has to do with some goals regarding finance, fashion, or the ability to indulge in your favorite activities, etc.

The point is you work to make your life easier, you don’t live to work.

Your emotions and your well-being are as, if not more important than your work.

 

It sets you up to fail as there’s no end to productivity (It’s a numbers game)

Productivity is about improvement, not perfection. There’s no limit to it which motivates us to keep going, knowing we won’t hit a roadblock.

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But it also begs the question:

What about 100% Productivity?

No matter how hard we try, how restless we are, there is no 100% productiveness. Not unless you involve machines. This poses a sense of discouragement, as despite our best efforts we can’t attain it.

Many start off their journey with the intention of being perfect. But as we mentioned before, all we can do is improve. Perfection is so far beyond the scope that we have accepted long ago, it is unattainable. However this doesn’t pardon it from the cons list.

Productivity having no limit, after a point gets lost in numbers. High achievers being there will always continue to push things forward. As a result things will continue to get more competitive to a point where it becomes unhealthy.

The thing to remember is:

We aren’t aiming to be 100% Productive, we are aiming to be as productive as required.

 

Productivity is a conditional love

The entire reward system of productivity is based on how much work you’ve finished.

It doesn’t matter if you were sick or had something urgent to take care of. Missing the deadline means a hit on productivity levels.

It makes you feel good about yourself only when you cross off everything you had planned to do. Failing to do so will end up in a spiral of negative self-talk. This kind of feedback system where you don’t respect yourself isn’t making you better.

Arguably it’s doing the opposite.

It is important to self-evaluate but it’s even more important to do it in a healthy manner.

 

Makes you more self-indulgent

The metrics surrounding productivity are mostly concerned with “you” making it a bit too self-centered.

It takes in factors like what you did today, how fast, how did it impact you, etc. While it fails to take others into consideration. Being productive often ends up distancing you from the ones who love you the most.

To balance this self-indulgence we need to take extra care of how we behave with others, at least in the start. Or else before you know it, you’ll start snapping at people. Improving productivity at the cost of your relationships isn’t a smart choice.

Routine healthy self-analysis helps you track productivity while keeping things in check.

 

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Wrapping Up!

Being productive is not as easy as it may have appeared at first. However listing out the cons makes room for improvement.

Having gone through the pros and cons begs the obvious question:

Is Productivity Worth It?

And the answer is… it depends on the level of self-control you have.

If you’re an extremist, we recommend you to tread carefully. Productivity tends to have out of control consequences when pushed beyond limit or kept unchecked. However most of its issues arise on the emotional forefront.

The bottom line is:

As long as you have good self-evaluation in place, not only for work but also your emotions, you can enjoy all its quirks.

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Rachit Singh

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