On being productive

Thoughts

On being productive

It’s a fantastic feeling–being productive. Getting shit done and accomplishing something feels good. Thanks to my and Anish’s work schedules (not really thanks because it sucks a lot), I have every weekday evening to myself to be productive and get shit done. But there are some days when all I want to do is switch off for the entire evening and do as close to nothing as possible. And yet when I do that I feel guilty that I’ve wasted time by not being productive.

It’s probably the time of year but it seems as if everyone has some advice on “being productive”. There’s one blog article after another posted on how not to waste a second of the day. How watching TV or a film is not productive, and that we need to cancel our Netflix accounts. That playing a little bit of Uncharted (I’m playing catch-up with this series) is a waste of time. Get more stuff done in a day than you ever have done before! You’ve got to be doing something at every moment of the day that will further your life, career, or work you towards some goal.

That’s not doable. I tried it, and it was hard. Things went downhill when I started to fixate on those evenings where I had “wasted” my time. That evening when I spent the entire night watching episodes of Treme, I could have written a couple or blog posts or read that piece on the latest innovations in email marketing. I began seeing the things that I enjoyed as a waste of time.

We can be productive in different ways. I’ve learnt that being productive for me can include doing the mundane things. Like tidying up the living room, sorting the laundry, or emptying the dishwasher. Shit got done and now I can put my feet up.

There’s got to be a balance of having that sense of accomplishment by being productive, with kicking back and letting yourself switch off. And not making yourself feel guilty of that decision. It’s a balance I’m working on every day.

What about you, are you a productivity fiend?

4 thoughts on “On being productive

  1. I think you’re right, it’s the time of year, everyone has streamlined their routines, their work and how to get the most out of 24hours. There have been times when I have been swept up in this, when I’ve felt guilty for not getting everything done on my ‘to do list’ and this was one of the reasons why I stopped having ‘goals’ –

    But this year, I feel great. I feel productive without the need to be crazy about it. I think this is because I regained some of my time back and it feels amazing. I have my morning routine, I read when I come home from work and if I get to the things I want to do like write, then great, if I don’t, then I don’t sweat it. When I forgot to meditate one morning, I thought, that’s okay, just do it tomorrow.

    Now, I write one thing I want to accomplish and it makes it easier to do and allows me to focus and ‘win’. And if I don’t do it, then there’s tomorrow. I have enough juggling around in my head of all the things I want to do and I write them down and I just tell myself, one day at a time. Today, I haven’t done any writing yet and it might not look like I’ll get to it, and that’s okay. Sometimes, we need a day off.

    And yeah, I’ve stopped seeing TV shows and movies as ‘wasteful’. It’s entertaining, relaxing and it gives me ideas and helps me feel ‘connected to American or British culture’ as an expat.

    1. Such a great attitude to have, Lani. We can get so swept up in filling every second of the day. Relaxing and being at ease with what we accomplish can be enough.

  2. I wish I was more productive with my time. Having a schedule and sticking to it is not easy. Especially with tons of clickbait. Things always take longer than I think they will and then guilt creeps in that I’m behind schedule. Taking advantage of the hours when I’m fresh is the most important thing to me.

    1. Identifying when you can get shit done is a big step in learning to being more productive with your time. Having a fixed schedule is tough. I think it’s more about having some sort of schedule, but learning when is the best time for you to tackle certain types of tasks.

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