Non Productivity

Use It and Lose It

The old adage says “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” If you don’t use your current fitness level, you’ll lose it. If you don’t talk to and engage with your friends, you’ll lose them (grow apart). If you don’t use the skills and abilities you currently have, they will atrophy (become outdated, reduce in value in the market place).

Nice. But it’s not the full picture.

How about this: what you use, you’ll lose. If you’re a farmer or manual labourer, after a life time of lifting and twisting and straining, your knees and hips will go. If you’re a runner, your feet are likely to go weird. If you’re a cyclist, perhaps it will be your knees. Rugby player? Baseball? Tennis? Concussions, wreaked shoulders, and tennis elbow all await. If you use it, you’ll lose it. Farmers and manual labourers slow down over time, get knee and hip replacements, and learn new ways of doing things. Runners take up cycling. Cyclists take up walking. Professional sports men and women have a season of life where they’re all in, but eventually it becomes too much physically and they turn their attention to coaching the next generation or pick up a completely different line of work.

Information workers and knowledge workers are less likely to get busted knees, hips, feet, shoulders and elbows from doing their work – but their hobbies, on the other hand, can be a different matter. What muscle of the body does the modern desk-bound and office-bound worker use the most? The brain.

A task is due. We turn all our mental cycles to focusing on the work, getting it done against impossible deadlines, and relentlessly push until it is done. And then we switch to the next major task or project, often with barely a congratulatory whisper.

We drive home in rush hour traffic, stressed by the waste of waiting in slow moving traffic lanes.

In our hours at home – hours that could be spent mentally recharging – we instead watch TV or Netflix and feed our head with negativity, inflated consumer expectations, and lifestyle comparatives. Or we spend time scrolling through our Facebook feed, seeing what all of our “friends” are up to, sowing seeds of comparative lack, and “my life sucks in comparison to theirs.” And we get too much blue light from our omnipresent devices late into the evening hours, that wreaks further havoc on our synapses. Once we’re done with TV and Facebook, we fall into bed exhausted, sleep fitfully, wake late and rush through breakfast, coffee, and the commute back to the office.

More deadline-driven tasks.

More advertisements that paint a false and unrealistic picture of modern life.

More lifestyle comparatives that leave us feeling ever behind, exhausted, and “we’ll never catch up.”

More deep division across the political scale that leaves the best-intentioned person at a loss to understand either why someone would “vote for that loser” or why someone wouldn’t “vote for that winner.”

Polarised.

Divided.

Fight-or-flight.

And it’s our brain that takes the burden and bears the brunt of what we do day-in and day-out, night-in and night-out.

It’s no wonder we have an epidemic of challenged brains. And people struggling with mental health.

Categories: Non Productivity

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