These are all signs of what Juliet Funt (http://www.whitespaceatwork.com/speaking/) calls the “hedonic treadmill.” Speaking at the Global Leadership Summit 2017, she addressed these “Thieves of Productivity.” While information is needed to live our life, we live in a time where we can easily succumb to information overload. While we should strive to do our best, our desire to be the best can move us to needing perfection. It’s good to be self-motivated, to be a self-starter. It’s harmful to be in an overdrive state where you just go, go, go. And while there are plenty of activities that can be helpful for balance in our lives, we can also be too busy and feel there is no time for family and faith.
Funt’s presentation included questions to evaluate one’s own productivity issues. One may suggest that these questions could be posed against any of the vocations a person is connected to but certainly should be addressed in our occupation. The questions include:
What can I get rid of?
What do I need to know?
What deserves my attention?
When is good enough good enough?
Getting rid of something doesn’t mean shirking away from responsibilities or trying to cut corners. It DOES mean a consideration of pruning away unnecessary tasks, especially as the tasks measure against job descriptions. Needing to know reminds us that we may have a tendency toward being nosey or trying to micromanage. Attention is precious, not in an arrogant opinion of self but rather in being good stewards of time and talent. Good enough doesn’t need to mean mediocrity. What the question cautions against is a lack of productivity because of constant insistence on perfection.
While individuals wrestle with these thieves and assess life through these questions, one may wonder what can Lutheran schools and The Lutheran Schools Partnership do to address these thieves? Might Lutheran schools contribute to such thievery? What are the culprits that contribute to problems? What solutions do we suggest to combat the problems?
As we share concerns with many local ministries on the stress, frailty and dysfunctional aspects of today’s family, the “Thieves of Productivity” might be contributors against basic purposes of family-life and God’s design for family. “Busyness” is always at the top of the stressors of families today. What are the forces that are making families busy? Do our schools have acceptable expectations for families or do our schools contribute to the stress? Does the organizational efforts of the school support family? How could organized, systematic planning of board and faculty meetings support time issues? Does the school board agenda and reports come out a week ahead of time? Do athletic schedules come out in a timely fashion and do the athletic schedules support family time?
Questions, questions, questions. But these and more are necessary for ongoing assessment of productivity issues and even more, for the support of the greatest and most important element of God’s creation- family.
What questions will you pose for your family and for your school?