Sometimes, Productivity Isn't Enough

About two weeks ago, something weird happened.  After a very productive week, I went home on a Friday afternoon feeling somehow unfulfilled.

My todo list was solid.  I had used my Daily Plan day after day as I have for years.  (You can grab a copy using the form below.)

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My quarterly goals, inspired by other practitioners, were in place.

Why was the weekend, ordinarily a delight, seemingly ominous as my week wrapped up?  

My life coach was very helpful after we talked about it.  His point was simple enough- you need more than productivity to feel happy.

I turned to Patrick Lencioni's book The Advantage, for some perspective.  Alignment is about "connecting with your why".  Patrick puts it this way, "Great leaders see themselves as Chief Reminding Officers as much as anything else.”

A great leader reminds the team why they do what they do.  

This affirms why the best companies are truly mission-driven.  Millennials more than any other group remind us of this.  Younger workers crave purpose more than just the hacks to shave a few minutes off their next meeting or the keys to getting to inbox zero.  

My own "hmpf" on that Friday was fairly normal after all.  After I had made sense of it, I decided to revisit my quarterly goals and my own mission statement.  These would, no matter what, inform my productivity.  I was resolute.

The weeks afterwards were markedly different.  The productivity remained but this time was animated by something deeper.  

When you feel fragmented or empty and you've been producing solid work, there are a few things you can do to reconnect with your own mission and purpose:

  1. Spend some time alone.  Get with your thoughts and write.  Why were you feeling shallow?  What is it about your work that you enjoy?  What part of it bothers you?
  2. Get away.  It may be time for a day off or a vacation.  If you've been running on empty, you just may be tired.  If so, stop working and recharge your batteries.
  3. Seek the advice of someone you trust.  Maybe you just need to talk to someone without being judged.  For me, seeing my life coach is invaluable and encourages me to reconnect my work with my mission.

Productivity isn't enough.  Connecting your work with your why, now that's where the magic happens.