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Hey there, go-getter! Feeling frustrated because you’ve got a list of things you want to do but you just can’t seem to get them done? Listen up, because I want to tell you a huge truth about productivity that doesn’t always get pointed out by the people whose main goal is sell you courses and books.
Lean in close…
Girlfriend, here is the truth about productivity.
Here’s the thing: there are seasons to productivity. And the reason for that, friend, is because there are seasons to life. There are times it just doesn’t happen. There are points in our life when we want to reach our dreams and goals, and it’s just not in the cards for those dreams and goals to be ours at that point.
Like when your dream is to have a clean house and you have toddlers who are walking right behind you taking out the toys you’ve just picked up.
Like when your dream is to have a giant garden and start a CSA but you’re caring for aging parents whose failing health requires constant chauferring to doctor’s appointments or decisions made regarding nursing care.
But I get it. You want to do the things. You’re looking at your sister, your friend, your co-worker and thinking, “But look at them! Look at everything they’re doing!”
Girlfriends. Grab a glass of wine. Have a seat.
Want the truth about productivity? Let’s get honest about the stages of life we’re dealing with.
When you look at someone’s life and think, “I don’t know how they do it all!” it’s quite possible there are some real differences between their life and yours that either you can’t see or you’re conveniently ignoring.
If you’re lamenting over the fact your friend seems to have all the time in the world to train for a marathon while you’re just trying to find time to take a shower, remember that a) she doesn’t have all the time in the world and b) you have babies. Her children are driving and have their own jobs.
Girlfriend, those are two very different stages of life.
Yes, you may be able to find ten minutes here and there—and ten minutes can do wonders for your goal! But let’s be real. There are times in your life that if you can find those ten minutes, you’re going to use them to nod off at the counter or hide in the closet with some earbuds and a bag of frosted animal crackers.
Am I right? I know I am. I was there, too.
We’re not always realistic about our goals.
In full disclosure, I totally get your frustration. I remember years ago, having littles, and looking at a book someone had written and sobbing to my husband about the author.
Look at her, I bawled. Look at all the books she’s written!
My husband—a genius patient man who understands the truth about productivity—pointed out she wasn’t up to her eyeballs in baby stuff, she was at least 20 years older than I was, and that I, one day too, would get there. He reminded me to be patient, and I sorta hated him for it.
I wanted him to be wrong.
But, as it turns out all these years later, he was totally right.
The truth about productivity is we’re all doing a crap ton of work at whatever stage of life or momming or working that we’re in. All of us. The work just looks different at every stage of life.
Another truth about productivity? Comparison doesn’t always help.
How do you do all the things?
I wish I had your energy.
Do you ever sleep?
Girlfriends. Do not ever compare your life to a snapshot of what you see someone else “being able to do”.
While sometimes a healthy comparison can help you challenge yourself, comparison is also the thief of joy, the bringer of stress eating, and the reason your brain won’t turn off at night.
Are there people who appear to be in a situation similar to yours who are doing and accomplishing “more”? Maybe.
But is what you see them doing and accomplishing the whole truth?
And even if it is, does that mean their life trajectory is supposed to be your path to follow?
Maybe. But probably not. The only person who can really decide that is you.
So know yourself. It’s important to remember that in some ways, having less time can actually make you more productive, but there is a time to recognize when the little time you do have needs to be put towards something else.
If we are completely honest, we can probably admit that we’ve sometimes used our place in life as an excuse to stand still. But sometimes our place in life really is the reason we can’t move forward for the time being.
Do you know yourself well enough to know the difference?
Frame your perspective of productivity differently.
There are times in your life when the goal you’re reaching for seems to slink further away instead of moving closer to attainment. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It means that life is happening. And guess what? Sometimes the reason you don’t feel productive about the goal you’re trying to meet is because you’re busy with other things.
Like raising babies.
Like packing your family up to move across the country.
Like caring for parents.
It gets better. You will get time for you. You will have time for all the things you dream about doing.
There’s a time to do all the things, and there is a time to eat frosted animal cookies. And if you’re truly in a frosted animal cookie eatin’ time, embrace it. Sometimes the time spent with those cookies is just the help you need to move on to the next thing.
I promise you—and I speak as someone who used to have a lot of crumbs on my shirt—the time will come for you to move forward with your goals.
In the meantime, think about your goals. Dream about your goals. Envision the finer points and make plans for your goals. Imagine yourself meeting those goals. Even if it’s not go time for you to do the heavy lifting required for those goals, you can still sift through the details and work out the kinks in your mind.
The truth about productivity? It’s that you’ll get through all these seasons like a total boss and move on to all the things you want to accomplish—and you’ll do it like a rock star.