Welcome to the third video in this introduction module where we’re setting the record straight and getting real clear about the right way to look at productivity.
Productivity, getting things done, work/life balance… these are all hot topics these days. You can’t listen to a podcast without this issue being addressed and there are lots of blog posts and pins on Pinterest promising you “the 5 quick ways to never procrastinate ever, ever again” or “get astounding results with these ultra useful apps”.
The thing is, though, that much of what’s being said about and written on the topic of work and life is utterly negative. Usually, the story goes something like this: a frenzied, stressed, and overwhelmed female is doing her best to balance a career and a personal life. A breakdown happens, either a physical breakdown in the form of burnout or a mental breakdown where said female questions the mere foundations of her life. This leads to an epiphany that something must change and she goes on to find ways to become more productive and/or to scale back with hopes of reaching that elusive balance. She spends tons of time and money buying software or apps to help be more productive.
That’s the narrative we usually come across, isn’t it?
But like all popular narratives, this one has some holes in it:
Plenty of people are able to combine careers, families, creative life, and personal time just fine.
Balance is presented as yet another measuring stick, another thing for us creatives to measure up to. And productivity is presented as the tool to achieve that balance. I don’t have to tell you that the message of “if only I had balance in my life, then I’d be happy and successful” is a dangerous one.
Productivity is being presented as synonymous with busy. For a lot of people, being productive means working more, hustling harder, and getting much more things done than you normally would.
Through this course I want to reframe the way we think about productivity. And I’m going to present you with a framework of how to do that.
In this course, we’re going to use this definition of productivity:
“Productivity is the means with which you get to work towards fulfilling your purpose. Productivity is not about working harder, it’s about working purposefully.”
A day where you got a lot of work done but there was no time for self-care is not a productive day. A day where you didn’t make time for your relationships is not a productive day. A day where you didn’t fuel your creative fire is not a productive day. A day where you spend the majority of your time doing things to please others or to win approval is not a productive day.
Believe me, I fell for the productivity trap too. At times, I found it difficult to find the motivation to even get started tackling the things on my ever-growing to-do list. I was so overwhelmed just by thinking about what I had to do that I started to make excuses as to why I couldn’t do it. I had trouble staying on top of things. Sometimes I missed the deadline for doing the things that I wanted to get done and other times I lost an entire day doing the things that weren’t really important. I was so busy with no results to show for it. And for the longest time I thought that apps, hacks, and programs were the answer.
But then I realized something. I was looking to others to help me solve my problem rather tackling the problem myself. I needed to change my perspective about what productivity was and how it could help me.
That led me to create my own definition of productivity (“Productivity is the means with which you get to work towards fulfilling your purpose. Productivity is not about working harder, it’s about working purposefully.”) and a very specific process for figuring out how I want to spend my day and what I want to work on. That process turned into this Productivity with Purpose course. I can’t wait for you to go through this process with me!
‘Traditional’ productivity is failing you because it leads to you feeling burned out, feeling guilty for taking time off to enjoy life, and having to deal with your self-worth that’s hitting new lows. But, remember, your self-worth isn’t based on how hard you hustle. Productivity is only valuable when paired with self-care, fulfillment, and purpose. That’s what I want for you. Learning to do that is my mission with this course.
What story about your day-to-day life and your lack of productivity have you been telling yourself? Reality check that story.
In what way is your self-worth tied up with your work and with being productive? Does the fact that you need rest and self-care mean that you think less of yourself?
Grab your worksheet from module 0.2 with your present day schedule. Reality check that schedule in comparison to the true definition of productivity. It can’t be a productive day when there’s no room for self-care, relationships, or creativity, or when you’re people pleasing.