On feeling the need to be productive all the time

by Cath

Today I’m going to talk about productivity, rather than a post about how to be productive, that are hard to miss in the internet, I want to get something off my chest.
I consider myself pretty productive at work, I’ve goals to accomplish and specific deadlines, I do a lot during my work hours. YAY!
Now at the personal level, outside of work..things get a little different. I’m not as productive as I would like to be. What happens is: weekend arrives and I want to be able to work on my personal projects but at the same time I also need to rest, to watch a movie, to go on a date or simply relax. That’s where the problems begin.

My brain is telling me all the things that I need to do, make the most out of all the minutes, all the seconds, don’t waste your time (for example, if I decide to work out, I think: I should bring my mp3 so I can hear a podcast at the same time and be more productive)! I put a lot of pressure in myself and I know it’s not healthy.
What usually happens when I feel this kind of pressure? I enter in a vicious cycle of guilt, I feel guilty for watching that movie/tv show, I feel guilty for surfing the internet (something I love since forever), I feel guilty for playing in my cellphone, anything fuels this guilt. And all this guilt, makes my projects that started to be exciting, a burden. I don’t want that.

I believe part of the pressure comes from being a person with multiple interests (multipotentialite) and that makes me realize that my time is limited. The amount of ideas that I have for multiple projects, plus the things I want to do like participating in NaNoWriMo, learn languages, travel, is endless and overwhelming. I know that I won’t have time to do everything and it’s still hard to accept it. It’s hard to accept that I might have awesome, mind-blowing ideas but only the ones that I prioritize and actually do will be more than ideas.

Lately I’ve been making some progress in prioritizing hobbies/projects (specially since I’m living out of a suitcase) which is already a huge step for me.
How do I do it? I write everything that it’s on my mind about that idea so it doesn’t bother me anymore. Write makes me able to forget that idea. If I don’t do it, there seems to be an urgency to accomplish it right away before I forget it or the inspiration vanishes.

However I still have to work on not putting so much pressure in myself, that consumes my weekends and makes me afraid of Sunday’s end of day with Monday so close.
Last Saturday, I was feeling guilty and my boyfriend, which knows how I usually get, made an interesting exercise with me: he told me everything I accomplished this year. This perspective helped me end the cycle. The reality is that yes I was able to do a lot this year. For example, in the beginning of the year I said to myself: you’ve to read at least 10 books although it would be nice to read 20 books and guess what? So far my read count is 27! Might seem minor for most people but that is truly important to me. Putting the year in perspective helps a lot.

Am I the only one feeling like this? If not, how do you deal with this need, this pressure to be productive all the time?

1 comment

Paige June 12, 2017 - 7:37 am

I could have written this–well, maybe not as eloquently, but this situation is 100% me.
I am a slave to my lists. I think I need to take 5 things off the master list and call it my daily list. I need to do those first and call it a day. If I have any energy/time left, I’m allowed to tackle the master list. If I want to.

Please bring on more suggestions, readers.


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