Ask someone today how they are; top responses would be something like “I am so busy” or “I am flat out today”, “So much to do, not enough time”. Yes yes, we are all very busy and important (in our own lunch boxes). But why do we say that? Of course we are busy, we are living, and we know we would complain if we were bored. So what gives? We perceive busy sometimes as a little out of control, we have SO much to do and not enough time to do it in. Do we? Do we utilise the time we have? Are there healthy levels of busy? Obviously we have those days that are run a little slower, does that mean we are less productive? Do we achieve more when we are flat out running around? Or should we embrace the quiet times? Do we make a mountain out of a molehill? Hmmm wondering who is nodding at the moment. Do we make things harder for ourselves?
From November to March I wasn’t working, not by choice, and I was amazed at how “unproductive” I became. I had this voice constantly in my head (and from others) telling me I “should” be doing something, should be training up a storm, finishing off my studies, cleaning the house, making dinner, seeing friends, going to museums, laying on the beach, but it was hard to get into the “busy” mode. I got what I needed done, but why did I feel the unnecessary pressure to put further expectations on myself? I needed to be consistent with looking for work, networking with connections, meeting with my transition company, keeping the house relatively in order plus the occasional gym visit and food shopping excursion. It wasn’t hard but I felt like I wasn’t meeting expectations, then I had a thought, whose expectations? It was those who were frantically busy at work wishing they weren’t wishing they too had been made redundant and had the whole day to do whatever the hell they pleased, you know the saying, the grass is always greener? Well it isn’t, or wasn’t for me.
I actually think I was very productive (apart from those couple of days sitting on the couch crying watching day tv thinking what on earth am I doing). I put HUGE expectations on myself, why did I feel that I needed to prove how I was spending my time to show I was being productive? I didn’t. Society tells us to be busy, our environment will predict how we must behave, if we live in the city, it must be all go go go, right? Wrong.
Being productive does NOT mean running around like a blue arsed fly, even though sometimes that does happen and some days just do not go to plan, that is LIFE people. Being productive is all about smart planning (and this is where we lose a few readers). Yes planning, boring as all feck but true. Some people plan better than others. Some people don’t like to plan (or they do it without registering).
Everything is connected together. Life, love, work, play, travel. They aren’t separate. They are connected to us all. We have the option to achieve ANYTHING we set our hearts and dreams on. Your schedule needs to be flexible and change. BAM! If you are banging your head against a brick walk because you cannot achieve one goal, how about you pick it up later? Stop expecting yourself to achieve everything at once. Put it in the L basket for LATER!
Being productive is about ensuring you give yourself adequate time and set expectations/goals to fit your schedule. What is important to you, what will you make time for? Do you make time for yourself if you have a busy family, career? Do you plan trips, do you plan time out? I thought that once I went back to work I would kick myself for all the things I didn’t do whilst being out of work. But I didn’t, because I can do that anytime. I thrive on being busy; I find I am more productive when I have man things to do because I am a natural born organiser. That doesn’t mean I don’t stress myself out, I do… But I have learnt to plan.
So what do you need to do? Take time, NO plan the time (coffee shop, somewhere where you won’t get distracted) and work out what you want to achieve in the next few months, work, personal, travel, write it down on a board, book, diary, somewhere YOU will read it and take notice. Do up a vision board for those bigger goals (they are awesome). Don’t just let life go by and you sit there wondering where it went. Live YOUR life. Achieve YOUR goals. YOU can be the only one to do it.
**pet peeve, people blaming others – get over yourself…. you just need to learn how to plan, how to make it all fit. Life is a gift. Don’t use your friends, family as an excuse. **
You may have tried a few times before and not achieved your goals or action list – that isn’t failure, that is giving it go, obstacles sometimes get in the way, it is overcoming those and keeping on with the goals you have set yourself. You know what, sometimes goals change! Yep true fact that, stop living in the past of the goals you once thought you wanted, scratch the other list and start a new one….
Some tips to being productive and organised?
· Work out a system and what gadget you will use to plan – diary, online calendar, whiteboard
· Put in the big events you know are happening – birthdays, conferences, goal dates – WORK BACKWARDS!
· If it suits mix business and personal – big events will allow you plan accordingly
· Be flexible, move dates around to work in with you
· No such thing as failing
· Advise relevant parties of big events, travel dates etc
· Check your goal dates every 4-6 weeks to see how you are tracking, amend accordingly
· Be Flexible!
· Try not to multi-task, organise action lists accordingly, complete one task and then switch
· Only check your email a couple times a day, read only the ones you need to action
· Make time to call friends and family, tell them about huge goal plans…
· Limit time on social media – we ALL love distractions!
· Do one thing at a time
· Mix things up during the week if you can especially with meeting friends, gym
· Take power naps
· Don’t plan too many evening or weekend events at once, keep some time for down time
· Are you mixing emotional, physical, mental and spiritual goals into your plan