You are scrambling to fit in work with a 1-year-old who refuses to nap. Your clean laundry is piling up on the dining room table, you don’t have any salt on hand to make a fresh batch of play dough to entertain your daughter. And that chocolate in the pantry is calling your name, along with a movie. After all, you’ve already done half a week’s worth of laundry, bathed the dogs, done several loads of dishes, and played quite a few games with your daughter. Haven’t you been productive enough?
But there is still so much to do…
Have you been faced with a scenario like this recently? Don’t feel alone – this is an actual description of one of my days last week. I am constantly faced with the question: How much is too much? Let’s find the answer together.
Productive or Just Busy?
If you read this post you know that I am a type-A, go-getter, over achiever personality. Just about every day I ask myself why I have so much on my plate, what I am thinking, and how I can eliminate tasks so that I can have more time to spend with my sweet baby and my husband. Yet, I still have so much to do! I mean, the laundry won’t do itself, neither will dinner make itself – I can’t eliminate those tasks. Then there’s work, and all the other miscellaneous things a wife, mom, and professional woman has to do.
So of course we feel busy. Most of the time. However, how productive are we actually being? Are we really getting things done that are on our to-do list or are we getting distracted with that dirty intake vent and this interesting Pinterest board? Do we only have necessary tasks and goals on our to-do list, or do we have things that should be eliminated?
After a recent evening with my husband where I was talking about all my business goals and dreams, along with how hard it was to actually get anything done in the day when I only have our daughter’s nap time to be busy with writing, I realized (with my husband’s prompting) that I really needed to reevaluate my to-do list and the way I spent my time…yet again. For while my days were certainly crazy busy, I wasn’t getting as much done as I know I should be able to, and I definitely wasn’t getting as much done as I knew I needed to.
Like I’ve said before, mindfulness and living the creative lifestyle is a constant process that takes a lot of re-evaluating and fine tuning!
Getting More Productive
So I got to re-evaluating my schedule and realized a few things. One, I need to wake up earlier than the 7:30 AM I have been sleeping in till. So last week I worked my way back to waking up at 6 AM again. Second, I need to work smarter, not harder. When I know I am going to have to work past my daughter’s nap time (which is pretty much every Monday and Tuesday) I need to have some new and entertaining activity or toy for my daughter so I don’t have to try to divide my attention between talking to my daughter and doing the best writing that I possibly can. Then, I need to set a limit and only work for one or two intense, dedicated hours after her nap with no distractions so that I can then give my daughter my full attention. Third, I need to make use of the excellent childcare we already pay for at our nice gym and go work in their coffee shop once or twice a week for a couple of hours so that, once again, I can dedicated focused time to work and then, later, completely focused time to my daughter and my husband.
Is there any way you can work smarter, instead of harder? Any distractions you can eliminate or tasks you can stop multitasking? You can read this blog post here if you would like help evaluating your to-do list.
Sometimes, We Need to Just Stop and Enjoy
We have evaluated our productivity and busyness, and tipped the scales towards productivity. Now it is time to see if we are focusing too much on productivity and neglecting enjoyment. After all, that saying our moms repeated to all us type-A personalities growing up – “All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy” – has more than a kernel of truth to it. The New York Times has an excellent article you will want to check out titled Relax! It Will Make You More Productive. An excellent summary of the article is the statement, “the greater the performance demand, the greater the need for renewal”.
We all need rest. No one would run a racehorse hard and fast and then not rub it down, feed it well, and give it some time off after winning the race. We too can’t run ourselves into the ground all the time, never giving our bodies, minds, and spirits time to renew. Of course we want to be productive, but we must make sure that we aren’t being too productive. Or, more accurately, we must make sure we aren’t working too hard. Otherwise our productivity will drop! (And, we will be less fun to be around as well as enjoy life less.)
Are you ready to resolve with me to reevaluate your schedule this week so that we can be less busy while becoming more productive, together? In the meantime, don’t forget to take the evenings off! As well as indulge in some spontaneous moments of relaxation and enjoyment!
Love life and live it well! Don’t let either productivity or enjoyment become your entire focus. Instead, keep your life balanced. Be productive, but make sure you take time to enjoy the fruits of your productivity with those you love.
I would love to know how you are cutting down on busyness while becoming more productive this week….while also taking time to enjoy the precious moments in your life. Please, please, please leave a comment below! I would love to start a conversation with you.