I previously wrote about some handy tips that you can use to be more productive and more focused when it comes to working through your to-do list. In that blog post, I talked about being a textbook Type A personality with a constant need to be doing something. I do, however, recognise that this is not always a healthy place to be and so here, I’m exploring another angle of productivity and delving into why being productive doesn’t necessarily mean doing more.
There is a perception that being productive means doing more
Many of us are incredibly lucky to have so many opportunities within our reach. With so much choice available, we seem to fill our time up with everything which leaves very little room left to enjoy the simple moments in life. By being efficient with your time, it could mean that you are able to free up some mental space.
It’s all about creating new, healthy habits
Productivity isn’t just about ticking off a to-do list
Productivity is what you make it, this sounds so obvious, but being productive can also equate to taking a long bath, catching up on your favourite Netflix show (I’m currently watching Better Call Saul) or taking time to read a few chapters of your book. For me, it’s often about creating downtime to read my monthly magazines, work on my knitting project (86 not 26, I know) or going for a long walk listening to my favourite podcasts.
Productivity doesn’t just equate to staying up late in a desperate bid to power through everything on your to-do list. Productivity can be actively taking time for yourself and topping up your own glass. All of the examples I have mentioned above are productive because they help restore a sense of balance in your self. I have also talked about millennial burnout and when to take some proper time off as I honestly feel that life is all about finding a harmonious equilibrium between work, rest and play that works for you.
For me personally, productivity is about becoming efficient in knowing when it’s time to be productive with focusing on yourself and when it’s time to be productive with cleaning the house, running errands or propelling yourself at work.
It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed out by the seemingly endless rotation of things to do, In my opinion, it is important to prioritise. There is however a clear difference between productivity and procrastination. It’s one thing having some time out to look after yourself and another thing constantly putting off the inevitable.
I know people who leave everything for another day manyana and before they know it, they are snowed under with 100 things to do and no time to do it, which means they drop the ball in other areas of their lives too. It’s a perpetual cycle that you need to get a grasp of.
Try only giving 99% instead of 100%
Many people, myself included feel guilty when they aren’t doing something. We are not machines – We are people. On this endless treadmill of life, we will never finish the end of our to-do list probably even up to the day we die. Deep. Therefore there is something to be said about taking a step back, prioritising and doing the best we can, but not beating ourselves up if we can’t fulfil everything today.
A friend of mine recently said that she’s trying out only giving 99% to everything. I told her that this sounded great, but how do you set the boundary? What does 99% look like? She said it’s not about trying to do everything, quickly, it’s about doing your best to do as much as you can before that pivotal point of burnout. This is an approach that I’m definitely trying to adopt.
I think it’s worth saying that we shouldn’t measure our worth by our accomplishments. Just remember what your end goal is and take the tiny steps to get there. Repeat after me: Being productive doesn’t mean doing more.