The end of the 9-5 focus on productivity
During our first fifteen months living like digital nomadz one of the things that struck us is that, after college graduation, we’re only allowed a couple years of ‘experimental wiggle room’. And when those years are over we’re supposed to semi-permanently stay put. We’re supposed to stop vagabonding through life. We’re supposed to sit down and shut up. In this day and age, staying put in one’s situation (i.e. one’s career, job, company, city, town, etc.) is how you become an expert, advance in your field, and win the respect of your peers and family. We’re fed the myth that staying put affords us our dream jobs. But instead of our having our dream jobs we are mere stuck in an outdated system. Because of this system we spend the majority of our waking hours working for goals that are merely stepping stones to other goals. For example:
- We do well in high school so we can get into a good college.
- We do well in college so we can get hired by a good company.
- We do well at our jobs so we can get even better jobs and make more money.
- We join committees or companies to pad our resumes or impress our bosses.
This is a system that feeds on our insecurity and mainly focusses on growing somebody else his targets or bonus by enhancing your productivity. Not our idea of doing meaningful work.
“Productivity” is an ‘industrial economics’ term that applies to factories, machines, and economies. When applied to people it often has a dehumanizing effect and neglects both individual differences, unique talents and, most importantly, our passion. Most best-selling productivity gurus are working in the interests of large corporations and often advocate values and approaches that are not in the best interests of individuals. (I have witnessed this first hand working for a large multinational.) Increased productivity should result in greater carefree time, more money, more vacations, and more time away from work. Most of the time and for most of the people, however, it does not. This results in a workforce that is laboring for more hours and for less pay, taking fewer vacations, generally being burned out and unhappy.
Introducing: Working Wonderfully
We believe we have to bring back a deeper sense of purpose of living into our society. The unhappiness in so many lives should tell us that success alone is not enough. Material success has brought us to a strange spiritual and moral bankruptcy. During our search over the last years living as Digital Nomadz we have discovered the answer to this challenge: start doing wonderful work that comes from your passion and talent! Once you engage on this journey you will experience the beauty of being good a what you do because you are loving what you do. We have started a website and an entire training program around this topic called Working Wonderfully and basically it comes down to this:
1. If you are not happy doing what you do, quit your job and convert you money in the magical gift of time. You can convert money back into time when they exchange potential income for freedom to spend their time how they wish. You do it when, for example, you decide to live a simpler live and work halftime, instead of full time. You do it when you start freelancing and create a more humane work schedule. You do it when you negotiate creative and unique work situations, start you own company, etc. In case you are wondering how, read this blog now!
2. Find your true passion and aggressively remove the things from your life that you don’t want to do It is common knowledge that productivity naturally emerges from passion: when we love what we’re doing, productivity becomes irrelevant. The same is true that being unproductive often results from doing things you’d rather not do. How you can identify this? Really simple: when you are not doing the work you love, you’re probably going to need an elaborate productivity system (like a GTD list or something) to keep you focused and on task. Since we started working only ‘passion based’ we are doing perfectly without an inbox filter or GTD list. What is your passion? What if money were no object? Read more about that here.
3. Open your eyes, gain new perspectives and start doing more meaningful work. Gaining new perspectives can come from anywhere. We like to travel, try new things and talk, read and write about our newfound interests. We believe that when the 9-5 slaves give up their minds each workday in devotion to balancing spreadsheets, selling widgets, arguing cases, etc. it’s not knowledge they’re missing out on. It’s perspective. The kind of perspective that requires variety, and discursive thinking, and morning runs during sunrise (we’ll come back to the importance of exercise later). The kind of perspective that requires new experiences, reflection, and carefree conversations with friends.
We desperately lack perspective because we are a society of workaholics, and workaholism is like kryptonite to perspective. (It’s often said that highly intelligent people lack common sense; but we believe what they really lack is perspective as a result of handing an unhealthy amount of their brainpower to their bosses).
If you are looking for a way to do more with your passion and talents and do actual meaningful work, just visit www.workingwonderfully.com (or www.wonderlijkwerken.nl if you are Dutch). Also make sure to check out the unique program we are offering in April on Isla Holbox (the first participants have confirmed and we have room for 5 more). Let us know what your passion is and how we can assist in making your passion your life!