The Deadly Idol of Productivity

Productivity is a good thing. Obviously. But like every good thing, it's a terrible idol.

And I don't know about you, but I'm tempted to idolize productivity. That manifests itself when...

...I prioritize social media over flesh-and-blood relationships.

...I refuse to rest.

...I grow rigid, inflexible, and frustrated when my schedule changes.

...I rush through my spiritual disciplines in an effort to "maximize" time.

...I get addicted to my smartphone.

All these are indicators that I've made productivity a god, not a goal. And this has a disastrously unhealthy effect on every area of my life. 

It hurts my relationships. It harms my physical health. It stifles creativity and spontaneity. It distances me from God. It distracts me from what's important. And in the long run, it actually makes me less productive, because it's slowly sapping joy from my work and setting me up for burnout and breakage. 

I don't want to chase productivity at the expense of my life, people, happiness, passion, or sanctification. Because this is a misuse of my time. I only have so many minutes, hours, days, weeks, and years, and how I use each one matters.

So I need to repent of idolizing productivity and overhaul my perspective. That means being willing to ask one question over and over:

"What is the most important thing?"

Not what would be most productive, but right now, today, this morning, what do I need to do? What is best for everyone? What is best for me? 

Of course, that doesn't mean we shouldn't aim to be as productive as we can be (because we should, "working heartily, as for the Lord and not for men"). What it means is that we shouldn't become slaves to the punishing master of productivity, allowing it to control our lives and dictate our feelings. 

So today, as you approach whatever work the Lord has for you (whether at a job, your studies, or your home), do it with diligence and grace. Be kind to yourself, and embrace the opportunities God places in your life. Work hard, but accept the day the Lord gives you. 

Because he knows what we need better than we do. And sometimes we need to be wildly, wondrously unproductive.