“the rate at which a company or country makes goods, usually judged in connection with the number of people and the amount of materials necessary to produce the goods”Cambridge Dictionary
If I had a pound for every time, I see this word on my social media feeds, I would be well on my way to being a millionaire. But lets be real, who even carries pound coins in their pocket anymore *audience laughs*…
Over the past few years, I have noticed how this word is thrown about so much. We are all as a society trying to be more productive in our lives. Trying to do more, to juggle work and life, to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Having spent a substantial amount of time on this myself, I have realised I spend more time trying to maintain that balance as opposed to successfully maintaining the balance. By this I mean things like spending hours on YouTube watching videos of how to become productive or aimlessly browsing online for the best planner all of which I find to be counterproductive.
There is this concept of always being “on the grind”. I am seeing a lot of this idea that you should be doing more than what you already are because it is just not enough. After a few days of these thoughts spiraling around in my mind I decided to bring up the topic with friends and family.
And this is what I have concluded,
A lot of people are feeling as though they are underachieving because they do not have a side hustle, or something considered exciting by society’s standards. We are living in a world where we must work to get by this does not mean constantly working or pushing ourselves to overachieve all the time. Take a break.
It is so easy for us to see someone on social media waking up at the crack of dawn, eating a high protein, low carb breakfast, running 10k’s every day and wishing we were more like that. Asking ourselves why we are not like that. Wishing we were more productive. It is so easy to compare ourselves to these snapshots we see.
I will put my hands up and say I have been this person. Friends and family have on several occasions told me how I need to slow down, I am doing too much, and I will burn out. And I have burnt out in the past. All because I wanted to be doing more. I am the type of person who always wants more out of life and I have made several changes to overcome this. The key one for me is redefining productivity and how I see it as a concept. Because I am not a machine and I am not measuring my success by how much I do in life.
I have been asked how I manage work, ASAM, blogs and all these other things I do. And honestly, I have little responsibility outside of work – I do not have children to look after and I live at home with my parents. I am not lazy (I do help around the house and with meals). Yes, I work long hours, but this is usually 3-4 out of 7 days of working. The other days I am free to do what I want. Everyone is different. We all have things going on in our lives that others do not know. By comparing ourselves to what we see online we are failing ourselves. A snapshot of what we see online is just that, a snapshot. A filtered distortion of reality that is not our reality. What works for someone else, may not work for you. This rat race will have no finish line if we continue to compare. We do not have to be doing several other things aside from existing. If you want to then go for it but we need to normalise just living. The pressure to do more is added pressure no one needs.
Here are a few ways/tips on how I have redefined what productivity is for me
Let go of the idea of not doing enough, if we continue like this we will never be satisfied with what we have. Instead, live in the moment. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us and so cherish all what you experience today. And this includes the good, the bad, and the ugly!
I spent an entire day just outside, I walked and I explored. This for me was a productive use of my time. Working on yourself, that self care is a form of being productive and one that is underrated. If there is something you enjoy, do it. That balance will only make you feel better
Be flexible with your time. You have several tasks for one day but it is your day off but you want to snooze? Snooze, you will work better once well rested. And why the rush, unless the task has an strict deadline why are you putting all that pressure on yourself? Things will get done once we quit looking at the clock and focus more on the quality of our lives
Every day I create a to do list in my diary. I write down all the things I am to get done. I create several smaller goals as I find I am able to track progress better this way plus I quite enjoy seeing the ticks at the end of the day
Not everyday has to be a goal orientated day. Some days call for a PJ and movie marathon. Listen to your body, it will tell you when you need to rest up. Quit putting extra pressure on yourself and allow yourself time to reflect. At the end of each day I write down what happened, if there was anything I learned or something new I did. It is powerful in that I learn how even on the days I am ‘lazy’ I actually do learn something.
What does success look like to you? Believe me when I say this will be different for us all. This is what you need to focus on, what this means to you. What are your personal goals, forget about what someone else is doing or living their lives. This can be anything, for some it could be finding the motivation to get out of bed before noon and for others it may be working towards running a 10k this Summer. What matters is that it is for you to decide what success looks like.
Success, goals, and productivity look different to us all.
The reason why I am rambling is because I want to live in a world where we stop comparing our daily lives to others. We begin working on us, on what makes us unique and we quit conforming to the social norms and society’s standards of what our lives should look like.