Are You a Productivity Poser?

When I was growing up in Boxford, MA, skateboarding was emerging as much more than a hobby.  As kids, we all had skateboards. Some were expensive and others were generic models from Walmart.  I think mine had some flames on the bottom along with a skull and crossbones to make it look more tough.  Then one day, my friend, Lane, announced that his dad was building something in the backyard.

The thing was called a "half pipe".

We had no idea what it meant and there was no internet to turn to for answers.  Rather than admit our uncoolness to Lane, we simply went along with it as if a halfpipe was the stuff of common knowledge.  Turns out a halfpipe is basically a fancy bit of construction for those who want to take their skateboarding to the next level.

This new fangled construct of plywood and 2x4s would eventually separate us townies into two groups: true skaters and what came to be known as "posers".  I was definitely in the latter category with my Walmart skateboard and a deep-seated apathy towards competitive skating.

As you can imagine, Lane was not a poser and heck, with a halfpipe in his backyard his dad practically ordained him a professional skater.  And so the story goes.

When it comes to productivity, we can apply the same metaphor.  Some people take their productivity seriously and invest in the right tools for the job.  They also commit to honing their habits and rituals such that quality work becomes the norm.

And there are the posers among us.  I admit that I still dip into this category from time to time.  I love trying out new software, retooling my lists and reading reviews of products.  The problem is, this doesn't amount to much more than window shopping.  The real skaters are those that work their system and achieve the best results.

Most of us want to be really, truly, consistently productive.  We don't like it that our email inbox is overflowing.  It bothers us when we don't return phone calls even though we should.  The clutter in our homes seems to form an alliance against our best intentions.

And yet from a spiritual perspective, all of this is a reminder that our own intentions are simply not enough.  We need context.  We need faith.  We need a relationship with God to motor our day.  We know that we want to move from poser to productive in our work and in our faith.

It's the journey from one to the other that matters.

The next time you feel overwhelmed, begin again.  When the clutter and to-do lists are getting the best of you, take a breath.  Progress is possible.