Productivity is about so much more than fancy task management apps and getting off Facebook.
And, it’s not about simply doing more (though this is what most people in our society would have you believe).
There are loads of productivity techniques out there, but the reality is that in a vacuum devoid of big-picture planning and prioritizing, these techniques are fairly useless.
The roots of productivity start way beneath the surface.
Natural productivity is all about:
- Aligning with who you are and what you truly want to accomplish
- Planning so you can actually make it happen
- Systematizing and getting organized to free up more of your precious time
- Prioritizing what’s most important
- Resting and creating space for self-care
That last one is huge and often forgotten: Natural Productivity requires that we honor our natural cycles of ebb and flow.
And it requires that we trust that when we are purposefully NON-productive – in other words, when we sleep, rest, take care ourselves, go for a walk outside – that this actually provides us the necessary foundation, the fertile ground, to produce MORE when we do get back to work.
I know. It’s hard to believe that when your to-do list seems un-ending.
But you have to trust that taking that break will actually serve you and your business.
Because it’s during those busiest, craziest times that we need time out even more.
There are now dozens of scientific studies showing that constant work actually makes us less efficient and less productive, plus it leads to anxiety, sickness, and burnout (to name a few).
Taking breaks from work (from a 15 minute walk to a six-month sabbatical) clears our minds so that we can actually generate new, creative, big picture, strategic ideas that help us work smarter and more efficiently, instead of always being caught in the weeds and running in circles.
And breaks give us the space to remember and realign to what is actually the most important thing we need to focus on instead of getting tossed around by the prevailing winds.
There’s an illness in this society: it’s the belief that we need to work nonstop, produce constantly, and answer emails and texts as they flow in. And, that we are somehow “not enough” if we don’t do all this.
Now let’s be clear, working hard is not the enemy. Working hard is awesome. And it’s needed in business (I never said growing a business was easy). And, you know what I’ve found? When I’m on purpose, when my creativity is flowing through me, working doesn’t feel so hard. It feels good. I have loads of energy for it.
But even when we’re on purpose, it’s unrealistic to think we can be in go-mode all the time. As I said before, there’s an ebb and a flow to your energy that needs to be honored.
And, there’s a difference between hard work born from passion, and working hard because you think you need to prove yourself, you’re comparing yourself to others, you’re being a perfectionist, you’re worried about not making enough money, or you’re just simply caught in the cycle that most people on the planet are caught in: the addiction to busying ourselves and constantly doing more so we feel valuable or useful.
So how do we free ourselves from this more-more-more hamster wheel?
Well, it’s not an easy task, but noticing whether you’re caught in the pattern is a great first step.
So ask yourself… What are your motivations for working hard? Is it passion or fear or combination of both? What drives you to work so hard that sometimes you even get burnt out?
The next step is a very real and practical assessment of “what is enough for me?”
And this is where visioning, getting aligned with who we are and what we truly need and want, and setting goals that support that vision come in. It’s about consciously choosing a path, truly understanding our priorities, and making sometimes hard choices between many things we’d love to do.