A radically different way to look at productivity
Today, I’m setting the record straight.
Many of you have let me know that you struggle with procrastination, productivity + taking action on those big creative ideas you have for yourself and your creative business.
It’s a struggle I know all too well.
I know the shame of feeling like you’re not good enough and don’t measure up to those people that renovate their house AND write an entire book on a random Tuesday + make it all seem so easy. I know the guilt of feeling like you could’ve done more, more, more.
It’s procrastination, comparisonitis, and FOMO waiting to happen.
The way out of these feelings, for me, was when I started to redefine what it means to be productive. There’s a right way and a wrong way to look at productivity and it’s time to get really clear on what’s what.
Productivity, getting things done, work-life balance… these are all hot topics these days.
You can’t listen to a podcast without this issue being addressed + there are lots of blog posts and pins on Pinterest promising you “the 5 quick ways to never procrastinate ever, ever again” or “get astounding results with these ultra useful apps”.
The thing is, though, that much of what’s being said about + written on the topic of work and life is utterly negative.
Usually, the story goes something like this:
A frenzied, stressed, and overwhelmed female is doing her best to balance a career and a personal life. A breakdown happens, either a physical breakdown in the form of burnout or a mental breakdown where said female questions the mere foundations of her life. This leads to an epiphany that something must change and she goes on to find ways to become more productive and/or to scale back with hopes of reaching that elusive balance. She spends tons of time and money buying software or apps to help be more productive.
That’s the narrative you usually come across, isn’t it?
But like all popular narratives, this one has some holes in it:
Plenty of people are able to combine careers, families, creative life + personal time just fine.
Balance is presented as yet another measuring stick, another thing for us creatives to measure up to. And productivity is presented as the tool to achieve that balance. I don’t have to tell you that the message of “if only I had balance in my life, then I’d be happy and successful” is a dangerous one.
Productivity is being presented as synonymous with busy. For a lot of people, being productive means working more, hustling harder, and getting much more things done than you normally would.
Productivity with purpose: a new definition
With all of that said, let’s reframe the way you think about productivity. Here’s the right way to look at productivity, a new definition:
A day where you got a lot of work done but there was no time for self-care is not a productive day.
A day where you didn’t make time for your relationships is not a productive day.
A day where you didn’t fuel your creative fire is not a productive day.
A day where you spend the majority of your time doing things to please others or to win approval is not a productive day.
Believe me, I fell for the productivity trap too.
At times, I found it difficult to find the motivation to even get started tackling the things on my ever-growing to-do list. I was so overwhelmed just by thinking about what I had to do that I started to make excuses as to why I couldn’t do it. Sometimes I missed the deadline for doing the things that I wanted to get done and other times I lost an entire day doing the things that weren’t really important.
And for the longest time I thought that apps, hacks + programs like The Miracle Morning or the Pomodoro Method were the answer.
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But then I realized something. I was looking to others to help me solve my problem rather tackling the problem myself. I needed to change my perspective about what productivity was + how it could help me.
That led me to create my own definition of productivity + a very specific process for figuring out how I want to spend my day and what I want to work on.
As it turns out, productivity is not the basis but a byproduct of establishing my routine. The basis is purpose, values, joy, heart. Productivity is just a byproduct.
‘Traditional’ productivity is failing you because it leads to you feeling burned out, feeling guilty for taking time off to enjoy life + having to deal with your self-worth hitting new lows.
But, remember, your self-worth isn’t tied to how hard you hustle. Productivity is only valuable when paired with self-care, fulfillment + purpose. Deal? Deal!
Are you tired of struggling with your need for constant perfection? Need a little help with overcoming your perfectionism, so that you can start making those big ideas you have for your creative business a reality? Then make sure to download my fan-favorite (not to mention FREE!) ‘4 steps to ditch perfect’ workbook.
Hey, Wendy here!
As a perfectionism coach, I help online creatives #ditchperfect, overcome their perfectionism + take action on the big ideas they have for their business. Let’s work together and make those ideas happen.
LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY NEW DEFINITION OF PRODUCTIVITY? DOES IT RESONATE WITH YOU?