What’s wrong with the following scenarios:
a) You summer vacation just started, but you are still living by the clock with a tight schedule
b) You have only a 30 minute time block on next Friday to have some intimate time with your partner
c) Stephen King is your favorite author. You have decided to read his next book by using speed reading
d) There are a couple of movies on your laptop that you want to watch. To save time, you double the playback speed
Do you see any similarity between those scenarios? Do you see the same thing as I do?
Yes, you are correct: in all of the previous cases you are trying to be productive on things, which don’t require productivity. In fact, all of the previous examples are situations, where you should enjoy of the moment, not try to do it as much as possible or as quickly as possible.
When you try to be extremely productive on tasks you should be enjoying, you are killing the joy of doing those nice things.
This in turn causes you anxiety and stress, because you treat the joyful events and situations as items on the task list that has to be crossed out – as soon as possible.
To take this scenario even further, you might burn yourself out, because you are trying to be productive on every possible aspect of your life.
Ask yourself: “Is living like this really worthwhile or should you loosen up a little bit?”
Are you productive in things that matter?
The fact is this: you can be productive on every aspect of your life, but that’s not what the true productivity is all about.
You don’t schedule your intimate time or read your favorite novel by speed reading. No no!
The productivity should occur on tasks that are related to your goals, not on the ones that are meant to be joyful.
So, don’t schedule your intimate time with your partner. Instead, schedule the times when you write for your blog or schedule the time when you plan for your next important project.
When you take the productivity to the things that should make you feel good and relax you, you are killing all the joy and fun in your life.
Those things – sex, reading, watching a movie or relaxing on a summer vacation – are meant to be something that helps you to put your mind away from your work tasks and recover from your daily activities.
If this fun part – no matter how unproductive it is – is taken away from your life, how are you going to recharge your batteries?
Yep … I can’t figure out any way either. And that’s the reason I don’t execute or try to be productive on all the things in the first place.
Are you afraid to stop?
The true cause for the execution and trying to be productive on everything is being afraid to stop and enjoy the moment. You think you’ll just have to push forward in every area of your life – with 100%. However, this is a sure way to stress yourself out for the good.
The problem is that the word “relaxing” is poison to you, since you feel it makes you unproductive.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, it’s those relaxing and non-productive moments that we need in our everyday life to keep on moving forward.
There is another – even more disturbing problem – that puts you in the execution mode and that’s guilt.
You feel that you should be executing everything, all the time. Otherwise you feel like you are letting yourself down and you label yourself as a procrastinator.
Finally, do you really know your priorities in your life? Do you know the things you want to achieve?
If not, then it’s time to figure it out, since you should be putting your focus on those things – instead of everything else (including the fun stuff) that you do in your life.
Don’t spoil your life by denying enjoyment or a slower pace from yourself. You need it more than you can imagine.
Jump out of your comfort zone and slow down
To make your life fun again; you’ll have to do some fundamental changes in your thinking.
Then, slow down and start to see the small moments in your daily life. Appreciate and feel grateful towards them.
These moments are around us and unfortunately we tend to take them for granted. Instead, try to see the beauty in everyday life’s situations and you’ll start enjoying your life even more.
Finally, have meetings with yourself, where you decide the real priorities and goals in your life. Or even better, you can hire an external person to work with you (a life coach).
Many times we are blind to our own situation and we are able to see our own situation better with a help of a coach.
Stop executing your happiness with these simple steps
To make sure your life is not just one big execution, take the following steps:
1. List your priorities and important tasks. Make a list of all the things that matter. When you jot down the things you find important, you have guidelines and areas to focus on in your life.
Make these areas the one where you decide to be productive – instead of those joyful everyday things.
When you stop for a little while, you might get even better ideas related to your important tasks and how to execute them.
Slowing down is also essential for your motivation to carry on with the tasks that really matter.
3. Have a meeting with yourself or hire some help. Stop and really think what you want out of your life. Make a long-term plan (1-5 years), where you decide those areas which matter you the most and in which you’d like to accomplish something.
If you feel that making this plan is difficult, I recommend hiring an external person, like a life-coach, who can help you out. It’s so surprising how an outsider can help you to see your own situation better – even if you though it’s not possible.
4. Appreciate every moment in your daily life. You don’t have to have a million dollars in your bank account to be happy. You can be happy with much less – even without spending any money.
For instance, one of my favourite “small moments” is to wake up in the weekend, have a breakfast with my family and then just grab the morning newspaper with a cup of coffee. Everything is perfect at that moment and I don’t need anything else.
There are a lot of these moments in your daily life. You’ll just have to pay more attention to them and feel gratitude towards them.
There are certain parts in your life when you should be productive and then there are areas which should be just “left alone.”
Those “left alone” areas are something which brings joy to our life and their purpose is to make our lives more exciting and fun.
Learn to be unproductive on these fun areas of your life and put your focus on important things instead. This ensures that you have a great balance in your life and you enjoy your life so much more this way.
Over to you: Are you just executing every aspect of your life or can you also enjoy your life by slowing down the pace? What are your tips for increasing relaxed productivity?
Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to get more productive in your own life, grab 222 of his best Tips for Becoming a Productivity Superstar.