Other people’s thoughts and writings can provide inspiration for our own meaningfully productive lives.
Inspiration! It’s never too late to live the life we’ve envisioned — and there is always something new to learn along the way.
As we’ve often discussed, productivity to me is much more than just crossing tasks off a to-do list (although I do love crossing tasks off a to-do list!). It’s about ordering my life in such a way as to hopefully maximize my positive impact on the world around me–it’s about making a life that matters, as I define it for myself.
One thing that helps me as I’m doing my own work to define and make a life that matters is gathering and thinking about things other people have said on topics related to productivity and a meaningfully productive life. I often read books, articles, and blog posts with a pencil or highlighter nearby, and mark passages that provoke thought or inspire me. I copy many of them into a notebook (right now, mostly a digital notebook) where I can look at them from time to time, think about what they mean and how they apply to me, and ponder how I can implement their lessons into my life.
Quotes that have provided inspiration to me recently
The true price of anything you do is the amount of time you exchange for it. ~ Henry David Thoreau
This is so important to keep in mind. Time is a finite resource and no matter how efficient or organized we are, we still only have 24 hours in a day. Ask yourself periodically, is what I’m doing worth the price of the precious, irreplaceable minutes of my life I’m spending on it?
Organization gives you time. Planning makes that time productive, actionable, and goal-oriented. ~ Lisa Woodruff
I chose this quote before I started working on this episode and before I realized Organize365 was sponsoring this episode. This is such a good reminder of the time-saving benefits of getting our spaces and our lives in order, but even more important, a reminder to be intentional about our lives, proactive instead of reactive. Plan, rather than just take what comes without any forethought. This is what I’ve been thinking about as I prepare for the arrival in a few days of a small group of women from the TPW community who are coming to my home for a planning retreat.
The moment you stop blaming your life’s circumstances on external factors is the moment you start molding a future that is aligned with your true desires. ~ unknown (seen on social media)
Believing that my circumstances are the result of forces beyond my control is discouraging, leaving me feeling helpless. That’s the way I lived for a lot of my life. Recognizing that my life today is the result of choices I’ve made is empowering because if my choices brought me here and I don’t like where I am, I can start making different choices that will get me to a place I like better.
Your diet is not only what you eat. It’s what you watch, what you listen to, what you read, the people you hang around. Be mindful of the things you put into your body emotionally, spiritually, and physically. ~ unknown
We truly do become what we consume, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. This is a great reminder to be aware and thoughtful about what I allow into my mind as well as my body.
I realized that I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect, and beautiful journey of my life. ~ Kerry Washington
Letting go of the belief that we have to do it all AND do it perfectly is life-changing. Life is messy and we don’t always respond in a perfect way. This doesn’t mean that we are not worthy of enjoying our lives with peace of mind.
When we have clarity and purpose, we find motivation and confidence. ~ Myquillyn Smith
Invest the time, energy, and attention in getting clarity and purpose, whether about a particular project or your life in general. When we have a clear goal and a meaningful purpose, we have the confidence to act and the motivation to keep going.
If you’re one of those people who has that little voice in the back of her mind saying, ‘Maybe I could do [fill in the blank],’ don’t tell it to be quiet. Give it a little room to grow, and try to find an environment it can grow in. ~ Reese Witherspoon
I love the encouragement in this quote from Reese. Surround yourself with people who believe in you–or find one such person, at least.
I really don’t think life is about the I-could-have-beens. Life is only about the I-tried-to-do. I don’t mind the failure but I can’t imagine that I’d forgive myself if I didn’t try. ~ Nikki Giovanni
This is a big one for me. I have lots of regrets about things I wish I’d tried when I had the opportunity. Give yourself the opportunity and permission to try something, even if you might fail. What’s the worst that can happen?
You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward. ~ unknown (seen on social media)
This reminds me of another quote I’ve seen on social media several times, to the effect that you don’t need to see the whole staircase, just the next step. No matter what you’re doing–for me, I think of it in the context of writing a book, but it can apply to a particular project or life in general. When you drive at night, you can’t see the whole road, just the area in front of you that’s illuminated by your headlights. Just take the next step, and more will be illuminated.
Enough is a decision, not an amount. ~ Alison Faulkner
This applies to so many things in our life: food, money, attention, affirmation, possessions. What is enough? When will we have enough of anything? There is no specific number we can point to; it’s just a decision we make.
Happiness is not about getting all you want. It’s about enjoying all you have. ~ unknown
Try Brooke Castillo’s exercise–make a list of 25 things you want . . . and every other item on the list should be something you already have.
You may not always end up where you thought you were going, but you will always end up where you are meant to be. ~ Jessica Taylor
This is a quote that I have to come back and think about from time to time. Wherever you are right now in life is a place you are meant to be. There is something for you to learn. Where we are is a place worth resting in.
Being positive doesn’t mean you don’t ever have negative thoughts. It just means you don’t let those thoughts control your life. ~ unknown
Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned in the last few years is that I can manage my own thinking, deciding on purpose what thoughts I will focus on. Negative thoughts still come to me; I’m just more aware of them now and can choose which ones to hang on to and others to let go.
Some of the best days of your life haven’t happened yet. Keep going. ~ unknown
This quote is important to me as I’ve reached an age where it’s easy to fall into thoughts that all the “good stuff” is behind me. It’s easy for me to start thinking that there isn’t much to look forward to. This is a good reminder to never stop living, no matter what stage I am at in life.
Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles. Notice them. ~ unknown
There are miracles happening around us every day, even in the mundane. We all need to notice them.
What do you think?
Share a quote or thought that inspires you as you define and pursue your own meaningfully productive life. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or send me an email.
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