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Are We Obsessed With Being Productive?

November 14, 2018

For as long as I can remember, a “good day” to me has always been one that is productive. Many people love a good chill out, relaxing day but for me, I very quickly jump into “must do this, must do that” mode as soon as I sit down.

I think it’s to do with being an anxious person- I often worry that I will forget something if I don’t do it straight away. Phone reminders and my journal have helped to lift some of that anxiety by allowing me to physically record what I need to do, but then comes the issue of wanting to get it all done ASAP, just so it’s done and out of my life.

Being almost constantly in high-productivity mode is exhausting by the way. But that exhaustion is a marker for “success”. If I’ve taken it easy one day, there’s this niggling gremlin in my brain telling me that tomorrow must be even more productive than the average day in order to make up for lost time. Or god forbid, I won’t feel like I’ve done enough.

It’d be great if that gremlin could do one, tbh.

Although journalling has helped me to feel more in control of my life, I have been a bit slack at filling it in lately. I blame moving house, but really as well as that it’s been because business has been quiet. When business is good and I have client projects to work on, the euphoria of making my to-do list is akin to drinking one of the Costa Christmas drinks (fyi my abso fave is the Hazelnut Praline hot chocolate, hbu?).

When I fall behind with journalling I feel like a failure.

I feel like I’m not keeping on top of my life, my health or any of my goals. I feel like I’m failing and that I shouldn’t have set those goals in the first place. I tell myself that I will get back to being as consistent as I was when I first bought the damn journal – but then I don’t find the time.

I think part of the problem is being ~surrounded~ by success. People sharing their goals and smashing them. Whether it’s blog posts, Instagram stories or a Facebook post – everywhere you look online you see someone doing better than you.

You want to be happy for them, but the gremlin rears its ugly head again to remind you that you’re rubbish at reaching the simplest of goals.

Seriously gremlin – just get in the sea, will you?

Not one to let this defeat me, I am determined to tackle this head on. No, I won’t “try harder” to journal every day, and I won’t aim to #smashit every day either. Because that’s the problem. Instead, I will aim to take my time, manage my own expectations and listen to what my body and brain need.

I will stop treating a restful day like a wasted day.

I will learn to better manage my time in a way that doesn’t leave me longing for bed every evening.

I will forgive myself for not remembering or having time to journal every day.

I will turn the time I do have for journalling into a self-care moment, instead of a race to start the day.

I will look after myself. Every day, without exception.

5 responses to “Are We Obsessed With Being Productive?”

  1. Knowing that I NEED to schedule time to be unproductive has been one of the best, most important, lessons I could learn. I still haven’t quite gotten the balance right, so I still end up with days like today where it’s 9pm and I’ve had a headache all day and none of the work I thought I was going to get done has materialised. But I’m getting better at not beating myself up about it; better at seeing the ability to switch off as an achievement in itself. Self care is so important!

    Lis / last year’s girl x

    • Cat says:

      100% – I am learning this same lesson and it has been super valuable! Try not to beat yourself up if every day isn’t “perfect” – your body is really good at letting you know when to stop or slow down!

  2. I think it’s super important to remember that people tend to only share their success on social media to put forward an appearance of having their sh*t together, but in reality, they probably have had more failures than success. I know how hard it is to look at others on social media and think, why aren’t I there yet? But *try* to remember that not everything you see is real and it’s probably taken a long time for them to get there! Also, rest days are just as productive as none rest days- look at it this way, when you work out, it’s important for a rest day so your muscles can repair and rebuild to become stronger- well the brain is exactly the same, try envisage your rest days as an essential part of your routine, think of them as a positive thing xx

  3. Holly says:

    Completely resonate with this post. I never thought that my ‘need to be productive’ could have something to do with my anxiety but that totally makes sense. For me, although I can fall into that comparison game, I usually don’t compare myself to others I see on Instagram or blogs or just in general life, for me, it’s the need to be independent and I haven’t quite achieved that yet.

    I was brought up in a house where my mum worked her ARSE OFF to keep us in the house we grew up in… She was always working or doing housework. I rarely sore her rest or chill out so I guess it’s also a little bit installed in me that this is how to be in life.

    Really interesting read
    Much Love
    Holly

    • Cat says:

      Thanks for your comment Holly, and glad you liked and could resonate with the post! Both my parents have a hard-working ethic and so I totally get what you’re saying!

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