Have Less, Do More!
By: Kayra Williams
The less time you have, the more it seems you’re able to do. This article represents my thoughts on productivity and it’s far reaching impact in our day to day living as well as our socio-economic development. Of course productivity must begin on a personal level to have any influence on society whatsoever. To have an impact in the work place, in a country or globally… it has to start somewhere.
I took my thoughts back to my own journey of finding my most productive self, starting in 2014 with the desire to vivify my passion for writing in a way that illuminated purpose, and imparted complete self-fulfillment. After moving on from a media related post in St Lucia I’d faced a major road block. My dilemma? I wanted to chase that which ignited my existence, a quest that would lead to me spending most of my time writing books. Though now I was on a path of creative exploration, I needed to make a living. I could not ignore financial obligations chasing a dream, but I knew I had to make it work somehow. In the space of wanting something more than I have ever wanted anything before in my life, I discovered the truth to productivity, one that is directly linked to creativity, and vulnerability. But I will expound on this later.
On the journey to finding out all these things, all the while writing furiously in my two hours of spare time every night, I stumbled upon an interview with Ashton Kutcher where he said something along the lines of “opportunity looks a lot like work.” More accurate words had never been spoken. I wondered how many other people could relate. I understood him to be saying the way to be most productive on an individual or collective level was to accept that hard work paid off. Simply put, the moment where you are expected to be most productive is directly related to one’s next manifestation of favour, good fortune, and success.
I completed my first novel in the space of a year, and the second, in about 40 hours. By the time I was onto the second I realized the best version of productivity could only be achieved by time management. Once the blueprint was set in stone, it was less about the little details and more about getting it done, and once it was done, it was all about the little details, crossing t’s, and dotting i’s. After all, productivity embodies ensuring that your time is well spent, and for this maximum effort, you will reap the same or even more of a return, something that is worth your investment in the first place.
Now back to creativity and vulnerability. Where do those fit into productivity in the first place? I had no way of knowing until one afternoon, bored out of my mind with my own company, and four days into a writing marathon, I tuned into a Brene Brown TED Talk. The Qualitative Researcher stated simply: “If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.” The same words had once been spoken to her by a research professor back when she was a doctoral student getting her Ph.D in Social Work. The shared theory was the spark plug to the inspiration I had been searching for. In a 20 minute presentation she explained that those words had been her life’s mantra as she’d fought hard against vulnerability, choosing instead a life marked with controlling and predicting. She explained how she’d gone about changing her life through intensive research into the lives of other people, through pinpointing the things that created barriers related to connection, recognizing the importance of vulnerability, and ultimately the meaning of living wholeheartedly.
I had been searching for some magical aspect that would lead to unbounded innovation, and here was Brene talking about vulnerability being the root of inspiration and creativity, and by extension, productivity. On an individual level, she said vulnerability was the birthplace of creativity and inspiration. Added to that, recognizing the need for human vulnerability was the beginning of understanding life itself, and as such, connections with others. Connections that are also integral in thriving past the point of individual productivity, into the wider economical plane.
I watched her presentation to the end convinced of the underlying accuracy in the trend of thought that suggested that numbing vulnerability paralyzed creativity, drive and all the things necessary for the realization of true productive power. There was much to be explored with the simple concept of vulnerability in the sense of being more open to change and fresh ideas, accepting not knowing, then finding out, discovering new ways of thinking and doing, and not being afraid to be in that space of transition, all for the greater good. Creativity and productivity can both be found where and when they are least expected, but from there, it is always up to us to maintain and utilize the best measures for success.
Connect with the author on twitter: @camikayne