Perhaps being productive is not purely about action. Maybe it’s more about overall forward progress.
Being productive and accomplishment are important values to me. This article was a good reminder that productivity itself is not an end. It’s titled Against Productivity:
This Essay Took Four Years to Write by Quinn Norton
In many ways foolishness isn’t the opposite of wisdom, but its absence. Productivity is the opposite of wisdom. Humanity is a creature of time and imagination. From these things our fruits are born more than manufactured. Productivity is a quality of perfect robots. Stories, adventures and all new things still have to come from messy humans.
We should spend more time wasting time. We all need to be bored more. We all need to spend more time looking quizzically at birds we don’t recognize. We all need a little more time to connect the dots and see if they matter. I don’t know how much more, but sometimes you have to do things without knowing how much you need.
I can definitely relate to Norton’s feelings of failing when she isn’t getting anything done. I’ve also had epiphanies and breakthroughs when I wasn’t doing anything that then led to great bursts of accomplishment.