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Productivity vs. Leisure: What you need to know

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We have learned for ways to be secular when humans are spiritual.

So you want to change the world. You want to change your community. You want to have a better work ethic. You want to accomplish your dream. In summary, you want to be happy.

As the world seek to improve, it is interesting how people are becoming more and more stressed in their daily life. Stress could come from anywhere. Even a king was once found stressed sitting comfortably in his new beautiful palace!

But why do people find themselves stressed? What causes stress? How come many people find themselves tired even when they have the most comfortable jobs on earth? Why do students get tired of schoolwork so easily after a couple months in the semester? Why do K-12 teachers feel like they are working a full day nonstop when they get to stand outside of the door at the end of every class period? Answer me this, why do so many millennials who supposedly are the multitaskers of the new era find themselves busier than they should be? Shouldn’t they have more time on their hands now that they have multitasked their daily work and got it all done at halftime?

Well, my discovery behind this great challenge is less of a scientific theory that needs to be tested and confirmed, predefined, observed and experimented. Many people find the issue of stress, tiredness, disorganization and deterrence to deal with psychology because it has a lot to do with the human mind and its functions. I do not disagree with the experts’ findings. But instead of resting my case, I thought I would add something that could be added to the discovery. An add-on that people tend to forget as they lose themselves in the world and are left with no sense of direction.

It is not psychology, it is philosophy

My finding is that people are having difficulties of differentiating productivity from leisure. We must learn to distinguish the difference between productivity and leisure to then learn to balance the two.

Productivity can easily be defined as activities you do to get closer to your goal. Leisure on the other hand is taking time off from your daily activities. Productivity is being pro-active. Leisure is free time of enjoyment. We need both productivity and leisure to lead better lives. Producti-leisure is a state of being pro-active in pursuing happiness. The basics of human need is happiness. No one wakes up and proclaim to the world, “I just cannot wait to be miserable!”

It is easy to figure out why people are finding themselves more and more stressed. College students attending school for no greater reason other than to make a sustainable living. School teachers feeling like they are working too hard for little pay. Children afraid to sleep because they might miss their phone notifications. And dishwashers feeling like they have one of the lowest jobs on earth. There is a reason to that and it is simple. We have learned for ways to be secular when humans are spiritual.

In our leadership trainings at work, daily motivational messages, and advice from our kindergarten teachers, having a clear vision of what it is you are trying to achieve is the first step to living out your purpose. This is one of the reasons at such young age, your kindergarten teacher asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up. Now that we have grown, we still ask the same question in different words; what do you want to accomplish?

Where there is a weak foundation, what can the righteous do? A strong foundation is key.

We are born spiritual but learn ways to be secular. The universe is spiritual as it suggests, una-verse one song. We have to go back to our atman—a way of life. Atman is defined as “the spiritual life principle of the universe, especially when regarded as inherent in the real self of the individual.”

Our way of life is ora et labora (“pray and work”). Notice how it says pray and work but not work and pray? The word prayer is what throws people off because they think it is too religious. Instead of converting it into another word, we have thrown it off and are left with just work. As a result, we work and work and work. In fact, we work so hard that we find ourselves unhappy. Shouldn’t we be happier sense work is part of our atman (“way of life”)?

The problem is that we have left ora (pray) from our way of life. Pray and work. Prayer is supposed to be the foundation and the “why” you work. Prayer is supposed to give you a sense of direction and open new ways of creativity and ingenuity of how you should approach your work. Prayer is a form of work that has all the spiritual elements to it such as mission, purpose, values, principles, integrity, ethics and service. It gives a reason to serve a mission that is bigger than yourself.

In a more secular term, let us the word “leisure” to replace ora (“pray”) and “productivity” to replace labora (“work”). Now we can go back into our schools and workplace to teach the importance of not only distinguishing productivity and prayer but the importance of balancing the two.

Our leaders and those who are in charge of our jobs and schools might need to revisit the philosophy of recreation and leisure. We must learn how to take a break from our work and take the time to examine what we have done. We must take the time to appreciate what leisure brings to the table—contemplation. Contemplation is a leisurely activity known as meditation.

There are all sorts of leisurely activities. From examination of conscience to walking on the beach. Other leisurely activities include but are not limited to watching television, swimming, exercising, playing video games, and going to social events.

Productive activities on the other hand are tasks that need to be done in order to achieve your purpose or goal. A few of those such tasks are said to be business meetings, doing homework and teaching a class.

Too often we try to do both at the same time and it doesn’t work that way. If I was to cut your work hours from eight hours per day into four hours per day, and I tell you from now and on you would work seven days per week nonstop. Would you sign my contract? I know your answer already. But why? The hours of work you do is even less! The reason you would not sign my contract is because you are made spiritual!

Why am I getting such less of work satisfaction even when I work so hard?

One of the reasons more and more people are stressed, depressed, tired, and less satisfied with their life is because the society tries to be proactive and leisurely active at the same time. As result, you do not know when you need leisure and when you need to be proactive. Do not get me wrong, you work hard but such a system is turning you robot-like because you do not take the time to meditate on your accomplishment. Therefore, you feel like you are not fulfilled and are unhappy because the basic way to understand whether you are carrying out your purpose is by looking backwards.

What’s the point of working without satisfaction? Should work not be a form of prayer that is instilled into our visions and engrained into our purpose on earth? We work hard and our body gets tired. We work harder our body gets more tired. We don’t work at all and our body still gets tired. We have made balancing our lives more and more complicated than it needs to be.

We must go back to teaching our children, leaders in the workplace, employees, students and teachers the importance of balancing productivity from leisure and vice versa.