We don’t always have to be “on”. This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way.
I’m not sure when I decided to become super productive, but I do know that it gradually progressed into a problem.
Somewhere along the line, I thought “as soon as I’m on top of my errands and everything I need to do, my life will have more of an ease that it doesn’t have now.” Cue to me making long lists of all the various things I need to do each day, and dutifully recording them in light blue in my Google calendar so I could look back and see how much I got done.
For a while, it felt pretty good to see how much I “accomplished.” However, I could see how the rushing was catching up to me- weekends were feeling like work, instead of restorative, and I felt like I needed another weekend of rest after my weekend of productivity!
I began to see that there was a never-ending list of things to get done, and that I would never be fully on top of my lists. However quickly I got through my list, more things would pop up. I could chase that carrot forever, or I could change the way I looked at things.
I started to shift from “what do I need to get done,” to “what would I like to do?” I stopped obsessing over my calendar, scheduling in more fun in pink into my calendar, and making sure there was more of a balance in my schedule. I have a new limit of only two to three “things to get done” per day, and I often have days where I’m not very “productive” at all. I spend time relaxing, or doing the things I love to do, like read, watch a show, or take a bath. And after this change, weekends started to feel great again.
I suppose my need to feel productive stemmed from a feeling of inadequacy – like something here is not enough, and the grass is greener on the more productive side. Even in conversation, people sometimes seem to brag about how much they need to get done, or how much they had to do, like it’s something to be proud of. Why do we tell people that? I say we choose to talk more about the things that are enriching our lives.
For a while, I thought that the more I got done, the more at peace I would feel. However, now I know that all this doing won’t get me there, but it’s a balanced life filled with relaxation, and things that I enjoy, that will bring me here.
And it’s OK if I have to schedule that in.