Four Productivity Tenets From Stoicism

Four Productivity Tenets From Stoicism

It was a rainy Friday afternoon and as usual, I was going through a post-lunch slump. Unfortunately, as an intern at a rapid startup, it was something I couldn’t really afford.

My manager was in a meeting and I checked the clock.. it was around 3:45, still an hour and fifteen minutes for the weekend.

To pass the time, I googled “Best Productivity Apps 2016” and started browsing, hoping that a piece of software will make me more productive. At first, some apps did look pretty appealing. I checked out ten different sites, browsed through the features, checked the customer reviews, the pricing, and then it hit me – I was procrastinating by browsing productivity apps.

Something had to change and surely, paragraphs of code wasn’t going to help me.

That is when I turned to Stoicism, and, it changed my life.

What is Stoicism?

To put it simply – Stoicism is an ancient greek school of Philosophy founded at Athens by a Philosopher named Zeno of Citium. It basically believes that virtues like wisdom is happiness and that our judgements should be based on actions, not words. And that, we cannot rely on things outside our control to grant us happiness and serenity.

It’s a school that firmly believes on doing, not talking.

Stoicism has been practiced by many – entrepreneurs, writers, kings, presidents, however, there are three principle leaders whose work is now read. First is Marcus Aurelius, the Emperor of the Roman Empire. His book Meditations is a series of private notes that he used to write to himself. Then there’s Epictetus, a slave who ended up founding his own school to teach Stoicism to some of Rome’s greatest minds, His book “Discourses of Epictetus” contains series of extracts of his personal teachings. Lastly, there’s Seneca, a statesman and dramatist whose works include “Letters from a Stoic”, “The Shortness Of Life”, among others.

I started off feeding my curiosity with Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and, among the many other things it taught me, some of the teachings can be linked to how we can be more productive in our day to day lives. Now, before I jump into the four tenets, let me address a question you could be think about right now: Why would you turn to Stoicism to gain insights on Productivity?

Because when it comes to changing behavior, we need to tweak our mindset. Of Course, using productivity apps will help you get stuff done for some days, but, in the long run, only a shift in mindset would sustain a positive change.

And, what better way to shape the mind than Philosophy itself?

So, here’s some wisdom from an emperor who never had access to an App store.

Four Productivity Tenets From Stoicism

#1 Do Less

If you seek tranquility,do less. Or (more accurately) do what’s essential. Do less, better. Because most of what we do or say is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more tranquility. But to eliminate the necessary actions, we need to eliminate unnecessary assumptions as well” Marcus Aurelius, Book 4, …read more
Source: Steven Aitchison