We get a lot of satisfaction from those days when we get a lot done and make progress toward our goals, but how do we respond when we have an unproductive day?
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It’s Okay to be “Unproductive”
Does a less-than-productive day leave you in a bad mood? Do you feel like the day is wasted if you haven’t made progress toward your goals? Do you struggle to feel okay allowing yourself time to just relax and do “nothing”?
Sometimes I do.
In this episode, inspired by an honest and transparent email from a listener, I talk about why we sometime react badly to “unproductive” days, and how to deal with those days that don’t turn out as planned. The starting point is rethinking what productivity really means, and remembering that our worth and value don’t come from our accomplishments.
We are not what we do.”
Just because we’re not powering through our to-do lists, that doesn’t mean we’re doing nothing. It’s okay to rest and relax–not only okay, but necessary to our health, our relationships, our quality of life . . . and our productivity.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject of this episode. Leave a message in the comments section below, or email me.
Check out my recent conversations with other podcasters on their shows (available in iTunes and other podcast platforms):
- On episode 21 of Carrie Robaina’s podcast, My Simple Podcast, Carrie and I talked about Making a Life That Matters.
- I really enjoyed the wide-ranging discussion of productivity-related topics with Mike Vardy on his The Productivityist Podcast.
- My conversation with Lisa DeLay on her podcast, Spark My Muse, will be published on September 29, and we’ll be doing a LIVE blab that evening (7 p.m. Central) to talk about productivity. Blab is an exciting new way to chat interactively online. Check it out! Join us for the conversation on September 29–subscribe to the scheduled productivity “blab” by clicking here, and you’ll get a reminder when the time comes.
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Royse City, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
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Joanne Heeps says
Hi Laura, thanks for sharing your words of wisdom and for generating such wonderful and thought provoking topics. I now know im not superwoman,nor do I want to be. However, I feel there is a great deal of pressure on many woman and perhaps men to, that we must be seen to be ‘doing everything’ in order to feel valued. This topic really made me think about what my priorities in all I do. I believe now that a job done well is the best outcome, if I rush or miss something then that has consequences – and this works for my employment, home life and personal well being. I get what i put in, and if im not focused, and not committed to what i want to achieve then the impact is I probably have missed something and have to go back and do more, this adds unnecessary time and energy for re doing the task or activity. ie: no shopping list,–i have to go back to the supermarket again and again. If I dont create good working lists for my day job im deflated when I feel i haven’t achieved anything during my day. Im trying to plan my day at home and work much better and im aware of doing the best i can – for my life.
Laura McClellan says
Joanne – Thank you for taking the time to write. I’m grateful to know you listen to the podcast, and that you have found it to be helpful. I love your insights described in your comment–we are not superwomen, and there’s no need to be! All those things you mentioned are things we all (me included) need to be reminded of on a regular basis.
Thank you. Your words encourage me more than you probably realize.
Vivian Lindsay says
Dear Laura: I would like your advice. How to deal with stress. I have been working for almost 30 years and now the stress of my work is really getting to me. What would you do to alleviate or at least manage stress. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Laura McClellan says
Vivian – What a great question, and one I think a lot of us are asking these days. I’m not sure what your job is or what kind of stress it produces, but I surely can relate. As an attorney at a large law firm, I too experience stress from my job that can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Obviously I’m no expert. I’m just a woman with a demanding job who is seeking ways to make a better, more meaningful life for myself and my family. I can only tell you some of the things I do when the stress gets to be too much.
First I look at what’s causing the stress. Is it too much to do and not enough time to do it? Is it because I’ve let my systems get out of whack so my disorganized desk or overloaded schedule is causing me problems? Is it unreasonable demands of other people? Am I doing things I should be delegating or deferring or deleting altogether?
When I’ve thought about those things, and done what I can to address them, there are a few things I do to deal with the stress of my job, and a lot of them have to do with taking care of myself. I play soothing music in my office, because it helps calm me. I try to get some good strenuous physical exercise, because I’ve found that half an hour on the treadmill or stationary bike or elliptical (or, even better, on a path outdoors) helps burn some of the tension caused by stress, which helps me relax and be more peaceful and even sleep better. I brew myself a cup of tea and sit somewhere quiet, maybe with a book or maybe just staring off into space, for 15 minutes or so. Sometimes, if it gets really bad, I try to take a Saturday off to just hang out in my sweats, take naps, watch dumb movies on TV, and try to rest and restore. I try to make sure I’m getting enough sleep (which is really hard for me). I try to make sure I’m eating well. I talk to my husband or a good friend, and/or I journal about the things that are stressing me. And frankly, Vivian, at a time not too long ago when I was so stressed that I was crying a lot and exhausted, I spent some time with a trained professional counselor. That was one of the best things I could’ve done for myself–she listened, asked great questions, and helped me think through the issues that were causing me stress and come up with a plan for dealing with them.
I don’t know whether any of those things would work for you, but I hope something there helps. I’ll keep you in my prayers. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help. And feel free to email me at email@example.com.