How to be more productive by doing less (and be okay with it).
I know this might be a bit controversial, especially at this time of year when literally everywhere you look it's about 'getting sh*t done'.
But ask yourself honestly – does all that dream-life, goal-busting on overdrive actually make you feel real-life happy? Or feel real-life inadequate? 🤔 Now this post isn't about giving up on yourself or your intentions for the year, quite the opposite. In fact, I personally think we can get more done by doing less, and that's what I wanna talk about. My point here is this; I think we've lost the ability to take a crucial minute, to just 'be', to not feel guilt while doing so and be totally okay with it!
(Me included in said 'we' btw) 🙋🏻 and being able to allow yourself to take that minute, is such a superpower, I think we should all learn how to take it.
I've mentioned a few times on Facebook and Instagram, that I have some pretty big ambitions for 2018. I'm so grateful for everything that 2017 brought me, and it was so magical in so many ways, but man did I wipe myself out and push myself to my absolute limits in the process. Pretty foolish in retrospect. So knowing there's even more that I want to accomplish this year, (and I know I can't endure another year like last year), I know my self-care strategy needs to change to help me get there. And if you've chosen to read this, perhaps yours does too.
There's a school of thought that's all about squeezing every last drop out of your day, putting in the #hustle and then reaping the rewards. Which I agree with to an extent; nothing comes for free or without effort. But when you're in peak procrastination-mode and feel your productivity's at an all-time low, I think repeating this #hustle mantra to yourself is the opposite school of thought you need to be in. If anything, it just drives you further and further into the perfectionist-procrastination abyss.
So where does that leave you?
Ask yourself why you have a lack of productivity in the first place
I know mine for example, is 100% due to me not allowing myself time to ever have a proper break and do nothing. I almost punish myself with the notion that I have to be doing something at any one time, even if that something isn't what I'm supposed to be doing! Meanwhile my to-do list's getting bigger and bigger, and the quality of my output's getting crappier and crappier. And it's an endless, overheating pressure cooker of procrastination that never seems to let up.
...until I give myself a break that is. Until I 'do less'.
Y'see, working less creates better results
Which sounds bananas I know. But I'm a real-life case study of this being 100% true, and I'm pretty confident you're going to see truth in it for you too.
The more you work (especially overworking), the less effective and productive you're gonna be. My lifelong approach (essentially forcing myself into a loop of impossibility and self-bashing), is so barmy, while the way out is so super-simple! (It's just so damn hard to give yourself permission to take it).
How to give yourself permission
I know that feeling, you know that feeling – you've a bunch of stuff you neeeeed to do, but your brain is the furthest from being in gear to getting said stuff done. If like me, your normal approach is to faff and flap, stay within the same four walls with the same flappy strategy and get more and more frustrated with yourself that stuff's not getting done, then think on this:
What if your procrastination and lack of productivity is your brain and body's way of telling you, you need to switch off, to escape, to recharge? What if that peak of frustration is your mind crying out to you to give yourself permission to just stop already and try out doing less for once? Because it sure isn't telling you to flap harder and feel more frustration to pull yourself out of it.
😇 Plus, now you have this permission slip from me, there's no excuses not to give it a try;
How long have you been waiting for permission? Permission to end that destructive relationship? Permission to quit that god awful job? Permission to go after that thing you’ve always wanted? Permission to find that someone and finally feel loved? In fact, how long have you been waiting for permission to just freaking start any of it?! If the answer is ‘too long’ then 👉🏻 here’s your permission slip my friend. As of today, you can start, in whatever way you can do, or need to. No excuses 💋 permission granted ✨*poof*✨ 🙌🏻 #theimperfectlife #imperfectionista
And the 'being okay with it' bit? How does that work?
I am you, so I know what you're like. Your perfectionism can make you kinda crazy when it comes to trying to be less perfect about how you do stuff. In fact, it's one of the most uncomfortable prospects ever. So the only way you're going to be okay with doing less, is essentially by trying out your down-time, your me-time, your doing-nothing time, and see the results on your productivity for yourself. Then once you've seen the proven results, you'll grant yourself the permission to do less, a lot more often, and finally be okay with it.
So are you up for a wee challenge? 😁
I want you to carve out a slice each week of the next four weeks to do 'nothing'. You're going to take a slice out of your normal busyness and. just. STOP. You might even want to add it to your schedule if that helps you follow through on it. You're not going to replace your busyness with a TV programme you wanna catch up on either, or a book you've been dying to read, or some Whatsapp threads you need to check in with. You going to switch off from distractions and obligations altogether. Maybe take a walk outside to a park bench (rebel behaviour: without your phone) and just take in the fresh air, watch the world go by and just breathe it in. [Is it not totally bizarre how radical that sounds btw?!]. Or maybe keep the walk going and take in every inch of your surroundings, more than you've ever done before. Or maybe take a power nap if there's a nap-able space...you get the idea.
Y'see I've found that it's only from totally leaving our crazy life aside for a moment, that we truly allow ourselves to stop and do nothing. And ironically, doing nothing, doing 'less', is the only way we can truly rest and recharge to be our most productive selves!
So being the most productive you can be, means happily doing less, and being okay with it! ♥️
If you know someone who drives themselves bananas with procrastination struggles or is forever trying to improve their productivity, I'd absolutely love it if you could share this with them 😇
Until next weekend gorgeous face 💋