The Productivity Paradox – Hidden Costs of Being Productive

 It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about? – Henry David Thoreau

The answer of which highly depends on your very own definition of what productivity is all about. More often than not, we associate the term ‘being productive’ to something that means doing more. This is technically correct considering how the word ‘productive’ originate from the term ‘produce.’

Lots of people at present, regular employees most especially, believes that being busy – juggling lots of tasks in a day – means that they are producing enough. As to whether or not the output is satisfactory remains debatable.

Mr. Thoreau’s statement echoes the very question many workers have in this digital age. Where more is demanded, more is produced. Yet where is the satisfaction and purpose? Producing more does not always mean you are practicing productivity for the right reason. If any, what you are doing is only depleting your energy for things that do not help you achieve your priorities.

There’s a paradox at work here – one that is easy to understand yet often ignored by many. It’s the paradox that tells us to take a step back, stop what we are doing, and reevaluate the quality and motivation we have for the task.

Productivity IS NOT always doing MORE.

Experience and researches have proven that being productive could also signify increasing one’s efficiency in performing the same quantity of tasks. It’s not necessarily doing more things, but rather becoming better at what you already do.

For those involved in digital works however, adhering with quantity-based requirement at a regular basis may be the only option. People like those who undergo SEO training Philippines sessions know that for their company to be at par or be ahead of the market competition, constant production of output is a must. This is where mindfulness and motivation comes in.

To continually keep up with the numbers while keeping your motivation up, understanding productivity’s hidden cost will help you prioritize and make the necessary adjustments fit for the values you uphold. Let’s take a quick look.


Whether your job demands you to be stuck at your desk for hours or something more physical and outdoors, deciding to be more productive takes time.

More of which is attributed to the fact that certain habits are difficult to change. If you want to add one more activity to your regular workload for instance, that could mean sacrificing some of the habits to get more time.

Increasing productivity doesn’t have a one-day, instant trick. It’s a process, and it takes time. Those who manage to deal with it are the ones who see progress in the long run.

Motivation (or willpower)

Taking into consideration the fact that productivity takes time, it’s easy to understand why many find themselves discouraged at the lack of any tangible progress. There may come a point when you feel like your motivation to continue is sucked away, making it difficult to continue doing any productive routine.

Decreased motivation over time is nothing new, and it remains one of the most challenging factors among employees who struggle on keeping up their high quality work consistently. There are some general tips on how one could boost his or her self motivation towards work. But at the end of the day, it’s something unique to an individual.

Regardless of one’s personal strategy, experiencing some ups and downs on your willpower level is part of the price you pay for becoming more productive.


“The more you do it, the more you get better at it,” so they say.

However, there’s a direct antithesis to this statement that also holds some truth. It’s that one thing that says, “The more you do it, the more you get tired of it.”

Productivity demands you to invest time in doing the similar task on a regular basis. It’s the only way to get you familiar with the task. Sadly, routine is also one thing that usually gets in the way of your creative muse.

Routine demands a process, something you must follow to finish a particular task. Creativity signifies more freedom and flexibility. This can be a real challenge especially for creative people who need a more dynamic environment to work at. In developing productivity, one may find himself holding back from the usual creative process he is accustomed to.


You may be inclined to multitask. In fact, you may find more satisfaction at the thought of doing more. However, randomly juggling different tasks only tires you more than actually focusing on things that matter.

To make every hour of work count, setting up priorities is vital. And how do you exactly do this? You identify the values that matter to you most. For instance, a person who values success, adventure and learning will most likely prioritize different things compared to someone who prioritizes relationships and social life.

Delegating your focus and energy on things that matter most makes work more rewarding. More importantly, it saves you time from going over tasks that will not help you achieve your goal.

Reevaluating your personal values takes time and your list of priorities could go as many as thirty. One cost you pay in wanting to become more productive is to cut off some of those priorities and reduce them to those that matters soonest.

Productivity can have a lot of connotation depending on who you ask. Some define it from the occasional motivation boost they have that makes them perform better than the usual. Others consider it as a fleeting ideal, present now, gone later.

For digital marketers however, being productive has to be a requirement. The online world is so dynamic and information is passed across different channels in a matter of seconds. It doesn’t wait for your dosage of inspiration. Speed matters and productivity is a constant.

It is a choice, and you control how you wish to inspire yourself to work. Overcome the paradox by trying out different strategies and enjoy quality productivity!

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