I don’t know what productivity is anymore.
It used to be I had measurable, easily quantified goals for my days. Write one thousand words, edit ten pages, finish building my death ray. You know, easy stuff like that.
Now I’m realizing that the things that matter most in life aren’t something you can really put a “percentage complete” meter on. The task “mold boys into respectable and stable members of society” doesn’t exactly have a sixteen step instruction guide with it. Ditto the objective “strengthen relationship with wife.”
This was the conundrum I found myself facing last Saturday tramping through the woods with the foster kids. I kept thinking to myself, “This feels too much like fun. Fun is bad right? I mean not bad exactly, but it doesn’t go anywhere, right? On the other hand, I do want to give these kids a thirst for something beyond the confines of a TV screen and- Oh look, a deer track!”
As you may have gathered my thoughts tend to ramble. But it’s hard not to feel guilty sometimes. It’s hard not to think, “I should be writing now instead of lying in bed with my wife just talking.” But the truth is, I’m pretty sure “lying in bed just talking” is the nobler of the two pursuits.
I’ve heard it said before that no one lying on their deathbed wishes they had spent more time at the office, but I’m not sure that’s true, at least not in spirit. Because I can imagine lying on my deathbed, looking back over my life, wishing I had accomplished more with it.
And so, I find my mind once again returning to that seemingly ever-present theme of balance. Writing is a good thing. So is mowing the yard, or fixing the leaking sink. But I’m finding the most important tasks in life are the ones you never quite get to mark off as “complete”. Building a good relationship with my God and my family is something that’s going to take effort on my part every day for the rest of my life. And I have to continue to remind myself that those moments when it seems like I’m not “accomplishing” anything may be the most productive moments in my life.