I’ve had an abundance of free time these past two months, compared to previous months, which has been wonderful as it has given me time to catch up on things that I haven’t done for a while and enjoy like following my interests. It hasn’t always felt productive though.
With perfect timing, being productive was a topic in a video I was watching yesterday which described how so many humans have this underlying belief that they need always to be productive. We’re not born that way however, so the belief is based on experience and expectations, whether our own or someone else’s, and it’s become a habit.
It often plays out when we are taking time for ourselves, relaxing, unwinding, practicing hobbies or enjoying moments with friends and family. While it feels nurturing, there is small yet annoying voice that is suggesting that our time could be spent better doing something else; ‘why are you reading this book when you could be cleaning the shower/decluttering your wardrobe/weeding the garden?’
The need to be productive may have been true for me previously but became more evident when we set up our own business and there are always things that need to be done. Those in a similar situation may be able to relate.
Many feel this way in life and I know consciously what I would prefer to do but my unconscious always finds a compelling reason why doing what ‘needs’ doing is the better choice; because it feels more productive and an ‘effective’ use of time rather than ‘wasting’ it doing ‘nothing’. I have trained myself well!
This has shifted over the last two months however. I started out feeling as though I needed to keep up constant activity in the business, exploring new ways to keep the business visible and active as best we could in the circumstances; I posted videos, got in touch with people and generally kept myself busy. It felt productive and did help a little but it was also tiring and felt like a chore. My mind would not let me off the hook and whenever I decided to take a break, ‘Do another video, write another article, share another post, reconcile the accounts …blah, blah, blah’.
Fast forward and I decided that my approach had its merits but also its costs, so I took my foot off the accelerator and changed gears. Being busy is not effective or productive except as a way to bury something we don’t want to feel, in my case the uncertainty of ongoing work and cash flow.
I still have the internal battle with the shoulds, coulds and guilt gremlins but I also realise I need to trust and go with the flow of the situation and give my body and mind a break. Pushing a certain agenda or approach is rarely the best option. Some things can wait, and waiting is sometimes the right thing to do to allow life and business to find a different, more effective expression.
I’m still doing what needs to be done, preparing for when things pick up and there will be a need to shift up a gear, but I’ve taken the pressure of myself for now and appreciate the time I have to focus on what feels right, for me, at the moment.
How about you?