Productivity and motivation is a complex issue in my opinion.
People say “productivity” and we think of the product we need to produce. Whether we mean it or not, productivity is charged with a complex definition; what you produce has to be something we can measure against society’s standards, and it has to be useful.
In society, it is very rare that we relate productivity to creativity, running household errands, or being productive. Instead, we congratulate ourselves when we push ourselves to do an extra hour of work, written X amount of words, and have bitten off a huge chunk off of our To-Do list.
What it would be like if we called self-care “productive”?
“What did you do yesterday?”
“I actually spent the whole day at the spa! Yeah, I had a massage, face mask, and a pedicure. You know what, I felt completely revitalised.”
“Wow, sounds like you had a very productive day!”
Instead, if we spend a day being productive for our body or mental health, we refer to it as a “restful day”. A day that we sneak in amongst all our busy weekdays, and then berate ourselves for, deeming it “wasted time”.
How Do We Support Our Productivity?
I believe that the best way to support our productivity is rest. It sounds counter-productive, and is often frustrating because we sit there after an hour of not doing our work asking ourselves “How much damn rest do you need?!”
But, there is a huge difference between procrastination and rest.
Procrastination is putting off your work. Rest is indulging yourself without worry.
The day I am writing this, I woke up at 9 hoping I would work through the day on one of my essays. I started to procrastinate, and the guilt-seed settled deeper and deeper into my chest. I wanted to go for a walk, and my eyes regretfully looked out of my window and into the sun. Eventually, I told myself I would grab a coffee from my favourite Café and come back to do my work.
Half an hour later, I was eating a carrot cake muffin, drinking my iced latté with no distractions, only peace, music and trees swaying above me. I felt so happy. Of course, in the back of my mind, I was planning my essays, turning over quotes and going over arguments, but in that moment I was being perfectly productive.
I wandered down to the canals, and enjoyed seeing little ducklings. I sheltered from the rain showers under bridges and smiled at everyone passing me.
When I came home I finished one of my assessments.
Sitting ourselves down and allocating hours to work, doesn’t always work. Rest. Be productive for your heart and soul. The rest will come.
Perhaps this helped, and perhaps it didn’t! I would love to hear what you have to say about motivation and productivity, and what you do to find it!
Look after yourselves.