Let's Not Be Machines

Too many people on social media are being exposed to the wrong kind of productivity advice from influencers these days.

Like this one:

I get it.

The 22-year-old naive me pursuing "peak productivity" probably would've nodded in total agreement with this mindset.

But, after nearly a decade of experience, I've realised that this advice is often based on faulty assumptions.

Assumptions such as we run our lives efficiently and predictably like a machine.


We, humans, are far from anything like machines.

The sole purpose of a machine is to power on and work until it breaks down eventually.

For us humans, work is only a part of our overall life.

We have hobbies, relationships, and recreational activities that we need tending to.

Without these, we can only go so far before we break down and spiral into depression.

Imagine a table where each leg represents an area of your life — work, relationships, hobbies, health, etc.


You're busy with work and don't have time to tend to all these important areas.

So, you compromise and take out a leg, say hobbies:

The table stands with a leg missing, but it's shaky and fragile. Ready to fall with even the slightest flick.

Now, say you go further and remove another leg, like relationships.

It doesn't work anymore. The table falls.

And this is precisely what happens in real life.

We suffer when we focus too much on work and discard every other facet of our life.

Enjoyment, downtime, relationships and health are all crucial to living a rich and balanced life.

It's funny that we invented machines to reduce our workload and enjoy more of our limited time on this planet.

Yet, somewhere along the way, we drifted off course and started trying to work on overdrive, behaving like machines only to regret it later on our deathbeds.

We try hacks and supplements to trick our minds and bodies into producing more and more output and participate in a ridiculous game of squeezing productivity out of every minute.

While I agree with the last sentence of the tweet:

Choose wisely how you invest your time.

Time spent on something you love or enjoy outside work is not wasted.

These supposedly "non-productive" hours not only rejuvenate and make us more productive in the long run but also make us human and separate us from machines.

The Monday night game with friends, a lovely lunch with your spouse, embarrassingly dancing to some music, or a calm purposeless walk through the park with your thoughts are all activities we should prioritise more in our lives.

For example:

I had a holiday at work last Friday.

To the productivity capitalist inside me, that's one whole day of opportunity to work on Hulry.

But, what I did instead was:

  • Went out for lunch with my wife at a newly opened restaurant near our home
  • Strolled through the alleys of a books and crafts store, reminiscing our childhood
  • Worked for a few hours
  • Binge watched 3–4 episodes of Under the Dome on Amazon Prime

And I loved every minute of it. I wouldn't have it any other way.

So, here's the message:

You don't have to milk productivity out of every waking minute.

Life is more than just your work, regardless of how purposeful your job might seem to you.

Make more time for enjoyment and have more fun. Dedicate more time to your family and your hobbies.

Let's not be a machine and be human instead.

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