“Productivity is less about what you do with your time. And more about how you run your mind”
- Robin S. Sharma

These days, readymade solutions to every problem of human beings are available at one’s beck and call. To lose weight you have various powders and if you want to gain it back again you choose some tablets and bingo; problem solved! Next, all you have to do is post the appropriate pictures on Facebook with some enticing caption like ‘Before & After’ and start counting the ‘Likes’! Similarly, to help one overcome his anxieties, personal distress, depression, or any other kind of mental trauma, myriads of generous souls are relentlessly sharing their wisdom and guidance on different social media platforms, YouTube channels, and other Talk Shows. Never before have all the good men of the universe gathered like this to end the troubles of the meek, common people. It is also a known fact that many talented persons have given up their jobs, and professions only to write and preach the self-help mantras for people who are suffering from different agonizing matters of the mind. All they care about is improving the quality of life for these miserable earthly beings. Their words are like pearls of wisdom and they shed light on almost all the troublesome, pesky agendas of human life.

One such area is ‘Productivity’! For commoners, it is a maze through which they trudge cluelessly and hopelessly! For them it is like walking in the path of thorns, venturing into some unknown territory striving for success which however mockingly eludes them in the end, no matter how much hard they try to achieve it.

In Google and other search engines, one can find numerous scholarly articles about Productivity and various means to improve it. Different searches yield different interesting results. In one case it presents the 3 Ps of Productivity! Another link will lead to the 5 Ps of Productivity! One wonders if there might be 7 Ps or even more Ps for it, following the same pattern of arithmetic progression! Although nobody can ascertain exactly how many Ps one needs to have to be 'Productive', the obsession still looms around, overwhelmingly impacting every human being irrespective of age, sex, profession, and choice. Even the people who are experts in their fields of study or research or occupation are not free from the clutches of this weird prepossession! We believe that Productivity is a virtue that can be inculcated only by adopting stringent, disciplinary measures and practices. Knowledge, skill, and talent all take a backseat unless they are vindicated by some productive outcome. Hence such a craze and longing for ‘Productivity’ can be seen everywhere in everyone. It seems like those days are not far off when ‘Productivity’ will be taught as a separate subject in schools! Many institutions and workplaces regularly conduct workshops on productivity to educate their workforce on the said matter. And often in such sessions, many senior employees of that organization can be seen running from one corner to the other corner of the seminar hall (with balloons tied to their legs and hands) in a desperate attempt to burst open the mysterious gates of this enigma called ‘Productivity’! Some of them even willingly volunteer to walk over the hot, molten surface or put fire-cotton balls in their mouth to instill the ‘Productive’ spirit in their team members! But is so much craze and hype justified or even required in the very first place? Are we not unnecessarily stressing and complicating our lives focusing excessively on this aspect called ‘Productivity’? Is it such an abstruse affair or is it merely a result or reflection of our honest and sincere efforts and understanding? If it is only the latter, then why don’t we just focus on the basics of doing things right? Instead, all we see is unrealistic programs rapidly growing in numbers every day claiming to be the only way to improve ‘Productivity’. But careful thought will reveal that the sole purpose these are serving is to sell ‘Productivity’ as a coveted ‘Product’ only!

For a nation to prosper, we need knowledgeable, dedicated, and passionate scientists, engineers, doctors, artists, politicians, and intellectuals. Productivity automatically comes as a by-product of their tireless devotion and hard work. For students to do well, they must learn with zeal and utmost eagerness. Productivity knocks at the door of such students. In an organization, if the Human workforce is treated as a valuable resource rather than a product liable to depreciation, most of the HR problems will disappear as if they have never existed! Perhaps no more workshops will be required then to improve ‘Productivity’. It is not a thing to be increased or decreased, stretched, or suppressed at one’s whims and fancies. It is an intangible which expresses itself as other manifestations. A confident and sincere student is a productive student, a happy workforce is likely to be a productive workforce, healthy and honest citizens potentially make a productive nation, and the list goes. So, an attempt to grade someone or something only as ‘Productive’ or ‘Unproductive’ is perhaps an inexact practice. Instead, judgment should be based on the merit of someone’s sincerity, understanding, knowledge, initiative, dedication, honesty, and happiness. So, this persistent and nagging concern about ‘Productivity’ must go. Instead, we should shift our attention to acquiring the right knowledge, wisdom, confidence, and self-satisfaction.

But the scenario was never like this, even a few years back! This inexplicable fuss about being ‘Productive’ is something that has struck our society in recent times only. Stress is in every possible sphere of human life. First, there is the urge to be a ‘Productive’ student, then some ‘Productive’ entrepreneur or professional, even a ‘Productive’ spouse, homemaker, or parents! And there is no dearth of motivation as well. We are constantly being flooded with promises that vouch for making us ‘Productive’ at any cost. It seems that some noble souls and organizations have taken the entire onus on themselves to make everyone and this lagging society super ‘Productive’! They have even discovered a set of techniques customized for each group of people to achieve ‘Productivity.’ In various events like talk shows, they will pull you out of your slumber and poke their fingers right into your eyes for your good; they will scream with all their might just to make you all understand how to become ‘Productive’ by getting up early, by chasing one’s dreams and never giving up, by managing time and not procrastinating, by not getting scared of the outcome of your efforts but to keep on trying till your last breath! Surprisingly big, old, mature, and sensible people also follow these shows! But these are the basic tenets that we have been told or taught right from our childhood days by our parents, teachers, or elders! Then why do we need to re-learn all these after becoming grown-ups? Not only that; in such shows or lectures you may be advised to consume certain foods which are believed to enhance ‘Productivity’! Only God knows how that work. Does it trigger anything like Productive hormones? Nevertheless, many presumably wise people buy that one as well! Today people are ready to do anything for it. And this has happened due to the constant hammering that our minds receive these days from an early age. For six years old kids there are ‘Computer Coding’ classes! All designed to make them ‘Productive Genius’ within three months! A kid studying in the third standard is taught new techniques to make calculations fast as a computer; and all those in addition to the conventional syllabus or curriculum of respective schools. The objective is to enhance ‘Productivity’ right from a young age! For adults other tools of ‘Productivity’ are applicable. And thanks to those, their lives often get boxed up inside the ‘GY Matrix’! In pursuit of ‘Productivity’ most human beings on the contrary end up landing in a world of delirium within a short period. It brings fatigue, and exhaustion, causing one to burn out and often turning them incapable of handling pressure. In many cases, that is the pathetic consequence of getting so much possessed with the idea of ‘Productivity’.

So, it is high time now that we introspect and decide what it means to be ‘Productive.’ And while doing so in the end we could very well surprise ourselves by concluding that the best way to improve our ‘Productivity’ may just be to detach ourselves from its grim thoughts, paranoia, and obsession! 

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