Finding a Productive Middle Ground that Works for You

Article by Make The Days Count Contributor Chris Bennett


Every body knows that guy who just loves to go the extra mile, on anything and everything.  Audacious to an extent, but you just can’t wrap your mind around how he has so much persistence and such a ridiculous amount of drive.


I ran into this situation recently, and I found myself asking just how in the world this person functions on an off day.  You know, one of those days where getting out of bed is a hassle in its own right, and then you have work or school and have to be around people, it just is not a fun day.  Time seizes up and seems to go by ever so slowly and you cannot fathom being overly productive.  Well, I soon realized that this guy lets nothing stand in his way of his daily quota of productivity, not even a five-minute coffee break just to catch up on the weekend festivities.  


That is one extreme end of the velocity of life spectrum I want nothing to do with.  Which end are you on?


Realistically though, we have to be productive.  Right?  We cannot just “be” 100% of the time.  Yet achieving productivity does not mean sacrificing sanity, personality or family for that elusive empty in-box.


Find a middle ground.  Find one that works for you.


For the most part, be productive in the things that matter most.  This may require us to make a list, or at the very least find some organizational thought process to shed light onto how we go about your daily or annual activities.


I once asked a workaholic what she considered the most important thing in her life. “Family,” she said.  Point and case, make a realistic list.  A workaholic may work hard to provide for others, but does not treasure family if he or she is working on the holidays and avoiding the family altogether in a time of celebration and joy.


The middle ground of productivity can be at gray subject – what matters more versus what matters least.  Everybody has a different pace in life, meaning that to find your middle ground, be sure not to compare yourself with anyone else’s efficiency at getting things done.


Sometimes, instead of going that extra mile, it is ok just to go an extra inch, just as long as you stay industrious.  The distance one is willing to put forth is completely relative.  What does that inch mean to others?  It really is not that important.  What does that inch mean to you?


In the case of the workaholic, do the ends justify the means?  Is a big paycheck worth a vacant chair at a family Thanksgiving dinner?  I say no, but I travel quite a ways for my mom’s dinner because it just does not taste the same anywhere else.  I have seen it happen though.  It is possible to put work over family.  We all do it at one time or another … some more than others.  There is no right or wrong answer, however if this article has caused you to at least think about the balance in your own life then it was successful.


Find that middle ground for yourself, and you will realize what matters to you most and come to cherish it every day.


“Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”
-Robert Fulghum


“Men for the sake of living forget to live.”

-Margaret Fuller


“In my day, there were things that were done, and things that were not done, and there was even a way of doing things that were not done.”

-Peter Ustinov


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Posted on 20 November, 2008 in Balance, Career, Finance & Family, Productivity
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