After going through control and stress the last couple of weeks, I wanted to talk about something that I’m pretty sure is directly correlated to our stress levels and the amount of control we do or do not have over a certain circumstance, season in our lives, or person – productivity.
I used to be really, really good at managing my time. I talked about it a little bit here, but lately I’ve found that my productivity levels have dropped immensely, and I think this is mostly due to two things:
- Not feeling a sense of fulfillment from my job
- Frustrations with my body
Now I want to preface everything I’m about to say by letting you all know that I have a great job that I was very graciously offered about three years ago. I have learned a ton with this company and greatly appreciate the opportunities I have been given, but it’s just not my passion. Also, I have a strong, healthy body that has served me really well over my twenty-five years. But I am still unhappy with the way it looks, which has been causing me to make some unhealthy choices lately that in turn make me feel like crap. You see the vicious cycle?
Anyway, how does being unhappy in our work life and discontent with our bodies relate to how productive we are? In about a million ways.
I don’t know the statistic and I really don’t feel like looking it up, but a huge amount of our days, weeks, and lives are spent at work. Now there are certainly the select few people who open wineries or write books or become a mom or reach the top of the corporate ladder who really love what they do. And if you are one of those people, I want to take this moment to be completely honest and say that I am jealous as hell of you. I’ve had about every job under the sun, and the things I keep coming back to that I love are fitness, kids, writing, and organizing. Yet I’m not sure why I stray away from them when I have the opportunity to make them my career. I used to be a personal trainer. Quit. I used to be a nanny. Quit. This is my second attempt at writing a blog (the first one actually kinda started to take off). Quit. I think what I’m trying to say is that I always have this feeling that there is something better out there. And you know what I’m realizing the older I get? There certainly is, but that doesn’t mean we need to be miserable until we get there.
When you are in a job that you do not feel fired up by, it’s really tough to live your out-of-work hours in a happy, productive, social way. Instead, you want to curl up on your couch at night and drink a glass of wine and watch TV until you fall asleep. I find that when I am happy in what I am doing, it motivates me to do more. It motivates me to be productive and live out the parts of life that I love the best. And you know what else? Even though I’ve only been writing this blog for a couple of weeks, it is beginning to give me that spark that I’ve been looking for. I truly look forward to coming home at night and writing out my next day’s post. I love sharing bits and pieces of my life and I love brainstorming about what I want to turn this platform into. It’s taking little signs like these seriously that will help us all out of the rut we may or may not be in and will turn us toward what we were meant to do.
On a very similar note, when your own body isn’t making you feel good, how can you expect to get things done and make others feel good? I find that when I am content with not just how I look, but how I feel, that I am literally set on fire to get things done. I want to go out and see my friends and run errands and clean my house and go for a run and go to the gym and do things that I just wouldn’t want to do if I felt crappy. And like I said earlier, I haven’t been eating very good lately, I haven’t been working out as regularly and as hard as I used to, and I haven’t been giving myself the time I need to unwind, unplug, relax, and just do things that I know are good for me.
As a result, I’ve felt super sluggish lately and just want to lay in bed whenever I get the opportunity. However, I’ve really been trying to make strides to change this. For example, I’m trying to get more involved in the Tone It Up community again, participate in healthy activities with my girlfriends, alter my diet (ugh, this is the hardest one), and try to give myself daily mantras that remind me how much better I feel when I take care of myself and how much more I get done.
To pull all this together, I strongly believe that the better we take care of ourselves, the more we will accomplish. In a quote from this wonderful book Bittersweet I am reading right now, Shauna Niequist quotes: “…it takes about ten years after college to find the right fit, and anyone who finds it earlier that that is just plain lucky. So use every bit of your ten years: try things, take classes, start over.” I feel like I have been using my ten years very practically. I have done what I am “supposed” to do – went to college, worked a little, bought a house, got my master’s, and worked a lot. I haven’t spent nearly enough time thinking about what I want to be doing. Sure, I know that I want to be a mom, but I’m not right now, and that doesn’t mean I need to waste these years away.
Productivity is something that can bring us so much joy and such a sense of accomplishment, but if we aren’t being productive with the right things, it will take us so scarily far away from those feelings. It will make us feel resentful and restless and like we are pointlessly walking through life. So what I want to do moving forward is to be intentional about what I spend my time on, who I spend it with, and why I am doing what I’m doing. By nature, I am a person who likes to get things done, but now I want a little more – I want to get the things done that are right for me, my future, and those I love.