Yesterday on Twitter I wrote “reorganized the filing cabinets, filed six months worth of loose papers and did eight loads of laundry – productive weekend so far!” It was a somewhat impulsive comment and I’m certain that if anyone read it they would probably wonder why I felt compelled to blurt that out. In fact, afterwards I wondered why too.
Actually, I did a whole lot of stuff this weekend that I didn’t tweet about. I had my customary ‘To Do’ list for the weekend and I completed all the items on the list. The laundry and filing were not items on the list – they were extra items. Possibly I felt they were items that were worth bonus points because I had not planned to do them.
Secretly I wondered if I was trying to justify my distractibility. You see, I did some paperwork and cleaned off my desk – tasks that were on my list – and added some papers to the ‘To Be Filed’ file. Yes, I have a special file for papers that are waiting to be filed in the files that they really belong in.
Don’t ask – it’s probably a process that only makes sense to me.
Anyway, I felt a little guilty about how full that file was getting so I decided to empty it. When I opened the drawer to the filing cabinet I was immediately annoyed. The files are all facing the wrong way and I have to turn around and stand on the dog bed in order to read the file labels. This problem is a result of last summer when I rearranged the sun room and turned the filing cabinet around.
Instead of putting up with this situation any longer I chose to correct the orientation of all the files in the cabinet and re-organize them too.
I also determined that the cover for the dog bed needed to be washed and my quick search for anything else that I could throw in the washer resulted in eight loads of laundry. Hence the tweet “reorganized the filing cabinets, filed six months worth of loose papers and did eight loads of laundry – productive weekend so far!”
Would I still have considered it to be a productive weekend if I had only completed the items that were actually on the list? Were the other things I did this weekend – leisure items like playing the piano – not productive because they were not chores? What determines productivity and the usefulness of a task?
When we watch children play or work in school how do we decide if they are being productive? Did they begrudgingly complete all the tasks they were required to do? Did they get distracted from the assignment, use initiative and do something they were not asked to do? Did they have fun and enjoy what they were doing? What determines productivity?