Productivity Pressure vs. Inspired Action
It has been pretty hard to write this post this week.
If I’m honest it is the first time I have written knowing other people would read it which stifled my creativity a bit, my initial posts I wrote with me in mind, this time there are other faces in the mix that I’m conscious of.
I began to put pressure on myself to write something in time for Sunday which added additional pressure and again started to make the process less enjoyable, when in fact this blog is meant to be a fun outlet for me!
This highlighted to me an old issue I thought I had overcome, that maybe some of you are facing when it comes to pressurising yourself to be productive.
If you have been furloughed and find yourself without an anchor of day to day activity, or you are still working but immensely demotivated, it can be a difficult time to feel motivated or fulfilled right now.
We are all aware of the pressure to leave quarantine with a six-pack, million pound business venture or a new fluent language under our belts.
Particularly as women, we can fall into wanting to be all things to all people at all times. This pressure can breed into self-criticism, and sometimes seep into criticism of others.
Right now comparison culture is at its most rampant with some from both camps of ‘quarantine doers’ and ‘quarantine resters’ passing judgement on one another.
Those spending quarantine active and alert, making statements around what everyone should have achieved by the end of lockdown.
And those taking things easy and spending this time relaxing and bumming out, suggesting those grinding are wasting their time or being insensitive.
Classic damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
In truth how you deal with what we are going through is very personal, the ways in which you find comfort and peace of mind is entirely up to you.
There are no rules, just like my self-imposed Sunday deadline, I can change that if I choose to. Just like you have the right to adjust the plans and expectations you have over yourself during this time.
Despite working my 9-5 as well as projects on the side throughout these last few weeks, I can honestly say that generally I don’t feel any pressure to achieve or succeed. I work a lot because it strangely helps me relax, its an outlet for all of the creative ideas constantly formulating in my head.
In the past, I used to put a lot of pressure on myself whenever I was inactive. I realsied that I had tied up a lot of my self worth in what I was achieving. When I wasn’t working on anything outside of my day job and was just watching TV or chilling out, I would want to make up for it with some kind of productivity binge to make myself feel better.
I have found a balance where now I don’t feel remotely bad for the days I bum out. I do whatever my mind, body and spirit need at the time. I had a Saturday a week or so ago where I literally did nothing, spoke to no one, and woke up around lunchtime on Sunday. It was bliss.
However, pressure for me still exists comes when I set a target for myself or a deadline, I can still find myself beating myself up if I don’t meet it, if I’m not consistent.
Learning to let things be and trust that it is not my efforts alone that work in my favour, is the area of this journey that I am still working through.
I actively work at removing the limiting belief in me that success is only achieved through hard work, grace can achieve so much more than hustle.
If you’re not motivated to do much right now, you shouldn’t pressure yourself to be to be otherwise. The same goes if you’re really busy, there is no judgement in wanting to take a break and just chill for a bit.
Balance can be achieved from moving from a state of pressurised productivity born out of guilt and worry, and into a space of inspired action, birthed from a place of interest and inspiration.
Inspired action is very different because the productivity starts from a place of, dare I say, play.
A place of enjoyment, and doing something just because you feel like doing it. For me this took creativity back to its most organic form and purpose, enjoyment. Beginning from this place ironically created such a huge momentum that resulted in actually being more productive and more financially successful than before.
Most importantly, it took the pressure off of the process.
Yes, discipline and consistency are key ingredients to success, but the foundation is earnestly in creation, and remembering why you fell in love with your craft or venture in the first place. I approach what I do from a focal point of knowing it makes me feel good.
Inspired action isn’t limited to activity, I can be inspired to spend a day doing absolutely nothing. Listening to the tugs inside me guiding me to let me know what my mind, body and spirit need.
Those days/times/periods that I have where I rest and switch off are just as important and also just as productive as the times I working into the early hours of the morning.
Everything is seasonal in life and requires flexibility and adaptiveness based on our specific needs at the time.
Knowing that there is no right or wrong, good or bad way of spending this time of lockdown, we are free to decide and enjoy what is best for us. We can do this with truly being honest with ourselves and self aware about what we truly want.
If binging Netflix for a week is going to make you feel bad about yourself, break it up with some activities in between. If working hard day-in-day-out is going to make you feel panicked and lost in your head, spend time letting things go and just be in the moment.
Allow yourself to do what is best for you, and allow yourself to let go on any toxic thoughts harming you about what others are doing.
If sis wants to post her workout videos everyday and you don’t even want to lift and eyelid, let alone a kettlebell, cheer her on and let her be.
If homegirl wants to post hourly dance videos with bae and all you wanna do is stay focused on building your business solo, wish her well and get back to work.
Undoing the culture we are born into of women tearing one another down is what will not only remove the pressure we put on ourselves as a collective, but it is also what will free us to each be unapologetically ourselves.
The most important thing is we do what is right for us individually, even if that looks completely different to what everyone else is doing.
So I may have missed my initial blog post deadline, but that meant I was able to have fun freely writing something honest that I felt like writing about. That to me is most important.
Where can you give yourself some slack too?