Why We Hate Being Unproductive


I got nothing done today! Ever said that?

Did it bother you deeply? Why is that?

Why is this such an important issue for us to feel productive? Of course its great to have that feeling that you accomplished something. It feeds into our sense of purpose. But the modern world loves productivity, to the point that it drives our very lives and sense of well being.

That sense of achievement gives us a rush—that euphoric feeling that says, “I am not just taking up space.” I have meaning by what I do!

But is that what gives us an identity? Don’t get me wrong, I love clicking check on a to do list every day. But we have become somewhat robotic in our driving search to accomplish. The moment one thing is done, we move to thinking about and plowing into the next thing. Yet at the end of the day, that momentary rush of accomplishment fades and we are left again unsatisfied. So what do we do … we go back to doing.

We are not human doers. We are human beings. But you couldn’t tell by watching modern living. 

But do you know who you are apart from all the roles you play? Do you have a sense of worth apart from your job, your parenting or ministry? Being productive is great, but I believe it has become an obsessive disease, where we are actually overcompensating for a lack of identity and self worth; immersing ourselves in projects, a position or activity. Meanwhile, who we are is eroding on the inside under a plastic identity.

So how do we begin to become more grounded in a world that thrives off of busyness and productive measurements? How do we maintain our sense of worth and value apart from all those things? The following questions are a good start to move us into greater identity security.

Do you make time to be still and be … you?

Every day, we ought to have time set aside, where our identity in Christ, apart from any of our work, is reinforced. I like to sit down and speak affirmations over myself. Things like, “Who I am is NOT what I do. Who I AM, IS, what I do.” I change the emphasis to focus my heart on what matters. We need set aside time, even 15–20 minutes a day, where we are able to affirm who we are in God without all our responsibilities and chores. If not, we become slaves all day to the cry of things–because our identities are wrapped up in them.

Do we make time for nothingness … where you just acknowledge you are a human BEING and not a human doer?

Are your priorities based on relationship health?

In our list of things to do in the day, do they override relationship? Why not put in your to do list priorities that involve building of relationship? Set aside time to connect with friends, people you are helping and those who can mentor you. These all help in the flow of groundedness and stabilizing of our identity.

Are your priorities based on what God wants you to do today?

In our productivity, have we added so many things on top of the priorities God has for us? I would venture to say that God has one, maybe two things on His agenda for you each day, and they are probably not task oriented… they are usually relationally oriented.

In your alone time, find out what priorities God is about and focus your heart on that throughout the day. Those are the things that will bring the most fruit anyway.

More importantly, what is the one area God would have you grow in as you face this day?

We all have many areas to grow in, but I often find that God works in themes over our life. Just like a chapter in a book has a theme or arch of story, the same of often true in our lives. We can only handle growing in specific themes in our life anyway. Most people try to grow in 10 different ways at once and they crash in all of them.

God in His relational goodness is often working on a singular theme in your life. If you get lost in performance and productivity, you won’t catch the quality of what He is wanting to do in your life.

The question is, what is the theme of what He is wanting to do in your life?

Stick with that . . .