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Learning vs Productivity

June 25, 2021

Being productive is important, and it feels like something every responsible individual should strive for. Another thing which is essential for the most of us is learning new things. We don’t want our doctors to be productive and enthusiastic at practicing obsolete medicine, we expect them to spend decades sharpening their skills and broadening their understanding of human body. Is it really different with computer science? Time files, market demands change, and we need to adjust to those changes. There is definitely a conflict between being educated and being productive, in a common sense of this word. Both activities require the same resource: time, and everyone has only 24 hours in a single day. I’m not even talking about recreation, family time and so on. It’s pretty hard to find the right balance, but avoiding extremes seems like a sensible way to go.

Learning new things gets harder as we age, and I’m not talking about biological factors. People tend to get used to certain lifestyles and, more often than not, borrow from future selves by taking different forms of debt. More learning often means less short-term productivity and lower short-term income. Being able to stay up to date and broaden your knowledge becomes a rarity. I don’t know many people who pay enough attention to education after they get their degrees and join the workforce. Interestingly, many things seem to have changed recently, with millions of people switching to remote work and flexible hours. It looks like this productivity craze may come to an end soon. There is more in our lives than being 100% productive and being productive at wrong things is, well, counter-productive.