It’s OK To Press Pause On Your Productivity (Your Soul May Need It)

A few weeks ago my team had an offsite in Uptown (what we call the downtown area in CLT) . It was a great afternoon. We spent some time brainstorming and made some progress on an upcoming project.

As we left, I looked down at my phone and realized it was a few minutes later than the time I had promised to give someone a call. I quickly sent that person a text message as I hurried down the street to my vehicle. Minutes later I was in my vehicle, checking the traffic on Google Maps, and punching in the number I needed to call.

Then, I saw it. Battery level: 4%.

I almost panicked but realized there wasn’t much I could do, so I continued with the call. Thankfully, I had just enough time to warn the person on the other end of the line that my phone might die, and then it happened. The conversation was cut off and I stared at my phone’s black screen. Now I had 52 minutes of rush hour traffic ahead of me and 0% battery left on my phone. Great.

I was so frustrated and wanted to kick myself for not charging my phone the night before. I was mad that I didn’t get to finish the phone call, but I think what I was even angrier about was the fact that I was going to squander almost an hour of productivity.

I couldn’t help but think about the audio book I could’ve finished, the podcasts I could’ve listened to, and a million other productive things I could do with 50 minutes of uninterrupted quiet.

For the next hour, I would have to press pause on my productivity.

As I was processing these anxious thoughts, an old worship song came on the radio and things started to slow down.

Moments before, I was frustrated and angry. Now, I felt God soothing a part of my soul that I didn’t even realize was hurting. Over the next 50 minutes I spent some much needed time worshiping, praying, and just “being.”

As bad as I didn’t want to press pause, my soul needed it.

Without realizing it, I had gotten caught up in a seemingly endless cycle of hustle, ambition, and productivity.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being productive. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I just think we get it wrong when we attempt to be productive without a purpose.

What I’m trying to learn is that productivity should be about getting more done so we have more margin for what matters — namely, people.

Regardless of our environment, if we stay in a mode of “get crap done” — we’ll inevitably treat the people around us similarly.

It doesn’t stop at the office for me either. When I’m at home, it’s hard for me to not think about the housework that we still need to do. Or about the bills I need to pay. Or the yard that needs to be mowed. Or the million other responsibilities I have and I’m sure you do as well.

Regardless of these competing responsibilities, the bottom line is that when I get home, my family doesn’t need me to be more productive. They need me to be more present.

Many of our responsibilities are unavoidable, but we would do good to remember that the task at hand is never more important than the people who are present. Whether it’s your spouse or your coworker — they deserve your attention.

It may sound impossible — but perhaps it’s time you hit pause on your productivity. Your soul may need it.

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