The Spiritual Cost of the Life Hacking Mentality

Everything had its place, and I knew how every day would go.

I got up with the sun to sit in the corner of the living room, writing before I rushed off to work—just like the life hacking articles told me to. Most mornings, while boiling water for coffee, I curiously opened email on my phone and got lost down the rabbit hole. So many blogs to follow, news to catch up on, tweets that require a response. By 8am, I already felt behind on the day. (My punishment for failing to obey more life hack advice?)

So it continued: answer every work email, stat. Keep Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat notifications on so I can reply to the most inconsequential of messages at a moment’s notice. Power through lunch by watching all the TED talks at my desk. Immediately rush to offer ideas whenever a coworker meandered up to my desk and tapped my shoulder.

If you wanted to get things done, I was your man. Except I realized that the more available I tried to be to everyone and everything, all the time, the less I could focus on my real tasks, let alone dig into quiet, deep work for hours—what introvert writers need most.

Companies, organizations, and even ministries demand productivity, and to convince everyone else we’re keeping pace, we must present the image of being busy. Very, very busy. Even if it costs more than we have to offer.


Especially in American culture, productivity is the addiction of choice—but at what point does our work devolve into empty busyness? How long can we convince ourselves we can find a perfect image of work-life balance because life hack blogs told us how in x easy steps? And what is the cost to our minds, bodies, spirits, and relationships when we keep running on the hamster wheel of supposed achievement?

Learning to dwell in a complex world requires significantly more than general advice and trite slogans life hacking culture prescribes. It might even require us to excuse ourselves from the hustle altogether, enough to reset something deeper than our time management, email subscriptions, and podcast queues.

So in the interest of human flourishing, in body and spirit alike, may we embrace the sacred rhythm of work and rest, stillness and action, connection and solitude.

Read my latest article in Fathom Magazine:

An Image of Productivity: The hidden spiritual cost of the life hack mentality

[Also in Fathom Magazine: My First Easter Sunday Without a Church Home]


How do you maintain a sustainable rhythm of work productivity and self-care? Share in the comments.

Find more on personal growth and finding meaning in work. Sign up here to get a free chapter of my book, The Variable Life.

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