Saturday, July 1, 2017

Stop Villainizing Productiveness

So, this post is mostly for myself.  It's a nice contrast to my last post, where I talked about taking a darn break.

Now I'm here to tell you...don't take a break.


It really depends on where you are at the moment.  But today I realized (with the help of my friend Olivia), that I've been making a villain out of my hunger for productivity.  It's kind of a backwards way of thinking, but it goes something like this:

Me: Brain, you're tired.
Brain: I know, but I need to keep working on this!
Me: Ugh you're always working!
Brain: I feel good when I'm productive!
Me: NO. We're taking a break.
*shifts entire mindset to hate any productive or ambitious thoughts*
Brain, after a few weeks of doing this - *has one productive thought*
Brain: But -
Me: nope nope nope we can't think about this productive things so how about we sit on the couch and force ourself to rest cause rest is healthy.

In my head, I categorize a lot of things as productive.  Basically, anything that includes 'self-improvement', furthering my career - writing, reading, editing....etc.

The problem is....those are some of things that I love most in this world.  And somehow, they've become burdens in my mind.  I've started telling myself, every time I get the urge to do something "productive", that I'm being unhealthy and I need to force myself to watch TV or just stare at a blank wall for fifty seven hours.

And almost without fail, this regimen leaves me feeling more exhausted and unfulfilled than before, when I was supposedly "beating myself by being a work-a-holic".  What have I done?

Yes, I'm often a work-a-holic and I need to practice 'still life'.  Yes, I have a tendency to constantly be thinking about the next big thing, and forget to have lunch.  Yes, sometimes I think so much about these things that I end up pouring orange juice in my cereal, putting the ice cream in the FRIDGE overnight and waking up to wonder why it's melted.....

But no, I do not hate all of these things I'm doing.  These are the things I want to do all my life, as a career. I'm going to college to study them.  They encapsulate my hopes and dreams, for goodness' sakes.

I think it's time I find a balance, and stop shying away from productivity like it's the Black Plague.  Maybe I'm been traumatized by the crazy work load and stress from high school, but that's over now and I'm more free than I let myself think.

Even better, I can stop defining things like "productivity" and "rest".  Maybe I rest by editing articles for Project Canvas - or at least, they make me happier than staring at a blank wall and "resting".  I can just do things when I want to do them - I have the freedom to do that, so why wouldn't I?  I can stop comparing myself to people who are fulfilled by other, more seemingly 'restful' activities', and accept that my systems are different.

Ask yourself if you're holding yourself back from just doing the things you love.  Yes, it's good to rest, to be still.  But it's also good to do amazing things when you feel like doing them, and being motivated and excited, rather than berate yourself for "doing to much". Heck, if you feel like doing it, DO IT.  Don't make a habit of condemning productivity when it might be what really brings you to that place of peace and happiness.

Are you also a work-a-holic?  Do you feel like your to-do list is sky high and won't ever come down?  Do you get mad at yourself for 'doing too much'?

Ask yourself if these 'chores' are actually things you love, and reevaluate the significance of productivity in your life.

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