The Illusion of Productivity

For many children, teenagers, and even young adults, it’s time to go back to school. Projects beckon and buying new materials, equipment and clothes are essential. Growing up quite a creative soul, I became rather obsessed with stationary.

Pencils, pens, sketchbooks…Oh so many sketch books, Notebooks. The constant need to feel like I am fully prepared for whatever education demands. I often found myself trawling around shops just art equipment, and would do this more than once a week, and spend far too much.

The only conclusion I’ve found for this is, the illusion of productivity. The idea of going out, tuckering myself out physically, and feeling mentally accomplished by buying stationary in it’s masses. I also found, I’m not the only one that did/does this. It’s a common problem. Well… No problem for the companies that profit from our spending.

This idea that we’re somehow doing something towards our work ethic or contributing to lowering our work load by getting the things we need (Or may just WANT) to get the job done is enough to sit down with a cup of tea and relax for the rest of the day because we’ve done ‘something’, is actually a form of procrastination.

We all know we procrastinate, even on a small scale. Whether it’s a few hours, or weeks, or even months. My worst experience of dealing with this was when I was in my 1st year of university. You often have 3 months to do 2 projects. I found that in those 3 months, I would go to the shop and buy equipment… Then wonder around other shops buying things for myself, get back to my room, nap, and nothing would get done until it hit me that we only had a few weeks left until the dead line. I understand that the grades don’t count towards the final degree, however I do wish I could do things very differently.

Now I’m on a break from university, I’m restless. I find myself looking for things to do, setting myself mini projects to do. And the illusion of productivity returns when I buy things I want for these projects. More sketchbooks, more pens, and more mechanical pencils. It’s a hard habit to crack, and when the “Back To School” sales are on, it becomes very difficult to keep One’s money in One’s pocket. That might be my own problem with self-restraint and control, but sh….

What’s your illusion of productivity?


3 thoughts on “The Illusion of Productivity

  1. As an artist I used to go to the art supply store and buy all kind of things, under the impression that doing so was necessary for my craft. I mean, you need art supplies to draw so this was beneficial. I would get home and fiddle around with my new “toys”, maybe scribble out a doodle here and there but that would be the extant of my “productivity” and yet I would be satisfied because at least I got up and did something rather than just sitting around daydreaming. But one day I remembered something I read in a book for a creative writing class I once took which apparently stuck with me. The author mentioned that there are two types of writers. The first is the kind that goes to writing seminars, read writing magazines, keeps up with their favorite writers, does writing exercises and joins writing groups. The second kind of writer just sits down and writes. Although this was in reference to writing and writers it could easily be applied to artists and make art. At that moment it all clicked for me. The author was making a distinction between being busy and being productive. Going to the store and buying supplies was just me doing “busy work” which often gives you the impression that you are accomplishing something while not actually producing anything. Being productive required me to sit down and actually create art. I had to make the leap from being busy to being productive. I had to get into the habit of sitting down and just drawing. It wasn’t easy at first but eventually I got it. I now only go to the store when I really need new supplies which is only 1-2 times a year and I’m producing a lot more work. I think when it comes to being productive we need to make a distinction between what is truly productive work and what’s just “busy work”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one that does this. But yes, I’m at the stage where I need to just sit and do the work, instead of giving myself this illusion that I am. It’s quite difficult to begin with, but I’m hoping to get into the swing of things as I have a year from university to raise my baby, then going back into seminars and classes. So all good habits I can pick up now, the better. Thank you for sharing with the blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s