Jocelyn K. Glei: R.I.P. Productivity
This episode is brought to you by hover. Every great idea deserves a great domain name. That's why i had right over to hover dot com to see what's available whenever i have a new project. Percolating hover has a dizzying array of extensions to choose from who is privacy is included with every domain and features like hover connect make it super easy to connect your domain to a variety of popular website. Builders with just a few clicks. if you've got an idea you're passionate about start laying the groundwork now by heading over to hover dot com slash. Hurry slowly to get ten percent off your first purchase. That's hov e r dot com slash hurry slowly jocelyn k. Glide and. This is hurry slowly. A podcast about pacing yourself. Where i explore. How you can find more calm comfort and clarity through the simple act of slowing down. It's been a little over three years. Since i started this podcast during which time i've gone through some fairly substantive personal transformation. The podcast itself has made some major changes in terms of both frequency and subject matter and now the entire world around us has changed suddenly irrevocably and in ways that we do not yet fully understand. We're living in a highly uncomfortable. State of limbo. Were the old ways of doing things. And the old social norms have been eradicated completely upended. But what will replace them is still under clear. We're inhabiting a space where there are no norms which feels simultaneously scary and can bring yourself a round to it filled with possibility so i thought it might be a good time for review. What have i learned over. The course of this podcast. And what does it have to do with figuring out a way forward to get there. I'm going to have to start by rewinding and tell you a little bit about how i got to the start of this podcast back in two thousand seventeen over ten years ago in two thousand nine my work started to focus on productivity and creativity i began working at a startup with the mission of helping creatives make their ideas happen at the same time i had been writing or let's be totally accurate trying to write screenplays on the side is inhabited various jobs related to editorial design and publishing so it was always writing and editing. But i wasn't having a lot of success. Doing the type of writing i was yearning to do namely making a writing movies so i thought well studying how other great if people make their ideas happen might help me learn how to do the same with my own ideas. I the language of productivity writing was foreign to me. I had to learn new vocabulary that was meant to inspire and motivate made even subtly coerced the reader using words like supercharge and optimize in comfort zone. I had to learn how to start headlines with two or why you should add to learn how to break articles down into tip sheets and rick constantly in the imperative voice getting rid of the niceties of standard grammatical sentence structure and starting every tip with a forceful verb. I'm quite sure. I don't need to go on you. Yourself are fluent in the language of productivity writing. We all are because it's everywhere. Even if not seeking out productivity adviser self help tips this type of how to language now permeates our culture to give a small example. When i was visiting my close friend a few years ago her small daughter. Knowing that i had been a gymnast when i was her age asked. If i had any tips on doing cartwheels. I think she was about four years old at the time. My friend is strictly commented on how remarkable it was that she would use the word tips. A word children of our generation would never thought to use. When i was her age almost forty years ago now advice culture was not a thing and productivity was not something that regular everyday humans talked about now at least inside the container of our working lives and for many of us in our personal lives as well. It's always think about. Am i being productive. How much did i get done today. Did i get enough done. What's on my to do list for tomorrow. Oh my god. I'm so behind why procrastinating. And what about that creative project set aside the thing that makes me really feel like i'm fulfilling my potential. When am i going to get to that. And so again need to elaborate more on this inner dialogue. I'm sure you're already well acquainted with it. We are so deep into the language of productivity in the mindset of productivity that we no longer know how to think of ourselves outside of it. Tobacco this point. I can tell you that no episode of my podcast has elicited more personal emails than the one entitled. Who are you without the doing in which i ask listeners to contemplate that question who am i when i'm not doing anything who am i what i'm not being productive and for many people contemplating. This question is deeply deeply uncomfortable. I should note that this is not my question. It was gift to me from a healer whose work has changed my life and who i interview in the second episode of season. Three of the podcast in an episode entitled. It doesn't matter what you do. It's who's doing it. And i think this question strikes such a chord because we have all been taught to measure our lives by how busy we are by how much we've accomplished in a given day. And when we remove that means of measuring when we get rid of the yardstick of productivity we hardly know who we are anymore. Who are you without the doing better yet. Who are we without the doing. And this is the most remarkable thing about the pandemic that it allowed us to finally see the answer. When the world came to a halt in the spring of twenty twenty we were all forced to confront who we were without the doing who we were as individuals stripped of our business and our ambitions and who we were as a country when the music stopped playing and everyone frozen place when we as a society were called upon to stop what we were doing and support and care for each other. Could we do it and who would fall through. The cracks without the distractions of doing we could suddenly see the cracks. The cracks in the fragile facade of our achievement oriented identities are overstuffed. Schedules are frantic. Consumerism stripped of the motive to produce in the entertainment of consuming. What was left for many of us. What was left was the quiet despair of being with ourselves of confronting ourselves in a way that we hadn't done in a long time maybe ever and realizing as we looked in the mirror that we were tired so very tired. Tired of living in a world filled with injustice tired of living in a world that tells us happiness is consumerism. Tired of living in a world that asks us to regard ourselves as commodities tired of living in a world that drives us to strive and better ourselves until we're burning out as the slovenian philosopher were not a celestial who i interviewed on season to this podcast says the sad and game of living in a capitalistic society is that finally when the cycle of consumerism reaches. Its true pinnacle what happens. Is we begin to consume ourselves and when the engine of capitalism ground to a halt this past spring it was like a veil was lifted. We could see who we were what we become the game. We've been lulled into playing. And now he can't unsee it and it's painful because once you awaken once the veil is lifted. There's no going back. You can't go back into unconsciousness. I've been thinking about this a lot. Lately as i observed changes in myself and see myself going through the cycle again and again the cycle of waking the pain of seeing and eventually beginning the messy work of change talked before on this podcast about how we yearn for transformation. And how the current cultural conversation casts transformation is incredibly positive desirable thing. What's more it makes it sound easy. In fact transformation is slow and messy and difficult and almost always quite painful. That's not to say it's not desirable positive in the end. It is but it's not easy and when you awaken to a new level of self awareness. The first phase is incredibly uncomfortable. Because you can see what you couldn't see before and what that usually looks like is paying witness to some sort of shitty behavior that you were previously doing unconsciously that has now come into consciousness and at first all you can do is watch. Watch yourself doing the shitty or self destructive or hurtful behavior like there. I go again doing the terrible thing for me. At least the stage usually involves a lot of shame. I'll give you a small personal example. A few months ago this was really coming up for me with my partner as i came into consciousness about some of the crappy behaviors that i tend to play out in my romantic relationships. I think i thought. Because i was so in love with this woman because i had finally found my person. I might be able to circumvent or avoid all of those negative patterns that had come up in past relationships. Well as you might expect no dice on that one. I'm still me and so all of those old behaviors are coming up for review. And i get to see them and i really don't like it because it's extremely uncomfortable. And thus the work of the next step begins unwinding. The old patterns of reaction and behavior and rewiring in new reactions and behaviors. And this is of course the hard part. This is the work. This is the practice and it's hard so of course it's appealing to consider returning to your previous place of unconsciousness. And if you really want to you can usually involves the alcohol or drugs or some other addiction in order to subvert. The new found awareness. I can remember talking to another woman a few years ago. Who like me had quit drinking. And she said you just start noticing and then she went on to list all of the things. She started noticing. But i thought you can stop air. That's the whole sentence. You start noticing noticing all the things you were striving not to notice by engaging with that addiction and it's painful productivity to is an addiction. One that helps us avoid noticing a whole range of things. It could be personal issues like the challenges. We'd rather not address in a romantic or family relationship or could just be the appeal of remaining in a headlong screen bound state so that we can disassociate from our bodies and avoid connecting to the trauma and pain that stored in them or it could be simply using productivity to distract ourselves or lower selves into acceptance that we are too busy to address cultural problems that feel large and unwieldy or the make us uncomfortable because of our own role in perpetuating those patterns and when the world stopped in march many of us want into a little bit of withdrawal from this productivity addiction we felt the latent anxiety of not being busy and if a rising awareness of what we were covering over when we were too busy to see it some of us also finally came back into our bodies in a way maybe not right at the beginning of the pandemic but as we got deeper in and as we came back we realized that we had a deep deep need for rest that the way we were working was not is not sustainable. Somehow when you're go- going all the time it seems doable but the minute you stop. The exhaustion washes over you. I used to produce a big conference in new york and inevitably be running on two or three hours of sleep the night before. By the time the event started then i would basically have to remain in motion or at least standing the entire first day of the event. And if i did. I was fine. I keep going but the minute i sat down and let my body relax. I was a goner. The exhaustion would wash over me. And pull me under like tied. And i think that's an apt metaphor the pandemic meet us all. Sit down and be still and suddenly we could feel that tide of exhaustion rolling. It we sense how tired we really were. How touch with our bodies. We really were. How out of touch we had to be in order to not noticed the exhaustion. But now there's attention. We now intuitively deep down. The things will never be the same again. The begin never go back to normal libby. Can't unsee the things we've seen but at the same time we also see how tired we are. How broken our previous way of working and living was how broken it made us. We can feel the burn out in our bones. So how do we proceed. We know we need to rest and recuperate. We know the old ways of working or not working anymore. We know that we can't go back to the way that things were but how do we acknowledge the exhaustion and adopt new ways of engaging with our work so that we can begin to plant the seeds for this new world. We wanna live in. I don't know the answer to this question. But i know that there isn't just one answer. There are million a billion ways to plant the seeds for new ways of working new ways of building new ways of being in community and each one is as individual and personal and particular and unique as you are in my opinion. The brief is clear. It's time for each of us. Reconnect with our core essence. That thing that is at the heart of who you are without the doing that life for that spark that has always been deep within you. Maybe it's your superpower or maybe it's your best kept secret. The brief is to reconnect with that light that essence and make it the centerpiece as you begin to slowly move forward after this cosmic reset. How can you use that essence to plant the seeds for a new world. The world do you want to see where you bring your unique gifts to the community and offer them up. What are those gifts. And how can they help us. Build something new something different something. More generous and tender. The turn of the year is the perfect time to meditate on this question take stock post twenty twenty of what you are now capable of of what new strength you've developed of what you have to offer that. Maybe you weren't aware of before of what the world needs the you now see after this episode i will be taking a break from this podcast for a few months. Diminish on these questions for myself. I've made many personal discoveries this past year. And i'm looking forward to experimenting with how i engage with you and the community that this podcast is generated in new ways. I have many seedlings sprouting. But i'm not quite ready to talk about them yet. I am also not one hundred percent. Sure if this podcast will return for a fourth season. I need to take a break for a little while to see what feels right but i do know that if it does return it will be with a fresh new focus. I'm officially done. Ruminating on productivity as alan watts said when you get the message hang up the phone. This is the message. I got for my ten year. Sojourn into the world of productivity. What we need is not to learn how to be more productive but to learn how to heal ourselves from our toxic obsession with productivity. You don't need any more productivity advice from me or anyone else you don't need to buy anything or read anything or listen to anything or do anything to make yourself quote unquote better. Your best self is a mirage that capitalism created to make you feel inadequate so that you buy more stuff. Forget about it. Hang up the phone. let's work with this self. The one that's right here right now. It's all you've got and it's pretty good. Let's go of all that striving and plant the seeds for something new. What were you nourish and grow in the coming year. And how will you share your essence. How why. I'm looking forward to finding out and when i do i'll keep you posted wishing you a generative new year.