What is the goal of productivity? In Free to Focus, author Michael Hyatt gave this answer (emphasis mine):
Productivity should free you to pursue what’s most important to you. The goal, the true objective of productivity, should be freedom.
He went on to define freedom in four ways:
- Freedom to Focus: the ability to do your task with absolute attention and no distractions.
- Freedom to Be Present: the ability to be fully present wherever you are (e.g. with your family) without being interrupted.
- Freedom to Be Spontaneous: the ability to drop whatever you are doing and respond to a new situation spontaneously.
- Freedom to Do Nothing: the ability to do nothing and just enjoy the moment.
These, I believe, are good definitions of freedom in the context of productivity. They capture what I consider an ideal lifestyle: a lifestyle where you are in control over your time and can live creatively.
You see, many people equate success with outward appearances. When someone has a luxurious lifestyle, they consider the person successful. But in my opinion, true success is about living true to yourself and contributing to a cause that matters to you. Doing these requires freedom. You can’t fully live true to yourself and contribute to your cause if you don’t have the freedom as defined above.
If you agree with me, it’s a good idea to plan your life and career around these four definitions of freedom. Make it your goal to have the freedom to focus, be present, be spontaneous, and do nothing. Work your way there. It will take time, but it’s definitely worth the effort. In my case, I do it by building a lifestyle business, but your path may vary.
Just remember that the freedom itself is not the end. It’s just a means to a bigger end: being able to live true to yourself and contribute to your cause. That’s how you make a difference in something that matters to you. That’s how you live a fulfilling life.