For my whole life, people have commented on my ability to get things done. I am a productive person, constantly tackling projects and tasks and using my time and my energy to produce results.
But there is dark for every light.
I have never been good at giving myself a break. I have always beat myself up for not being productive enough even though those that know and love me assure me that I am ahead of the curve.
Productivity is like any other drug. You use the high of having produced results in one area to dull the pain of having not faced challenges in other areas.
I was recently having dinner with a good friend whose relationship is currently going through hardship. During our conversation about what had gone wrong with her partner, she said:
“I always had something to get done. The baby’s laundry needed to be done, lunches needed to be packed or the kitchen floor needed to be cleaned. If I had it all to do over again, I would spend time talking to him instead of running away from our problems by taking on all these tasks.”
For my whole life I have been like her. I have been my own micromanager, judging every moment by what I am producing instead of how I am feeling.
This came into sharp focus for me over the last few weeks. I have been dealing with what I would describe as a storm of emotion. Things in my personal life, my family life and my work life have all combined to form what feels like constant cloud cover. I am lucky to have a strong support network including a husband who I consider to be worthy of sainthood at this point, but they are not all that I need right now.
Sometimes you need time. Time to grieve. Time to process change. Time to be. Productivity will take away time you could be spending on becoming who you are. We can easily find a million tasks in the way of stillness.
Productivity won’t make you a better person, a better partner or a better friend. Instead it will drive you crazy by lowering your self worth in times of hardship. So be careful with your to-do list. Make sure each task on it isn’t just a distraction from dealing with your reality.