My Struggle with Productivity

I am a textbook procrastinator. Even when I was in elementary school, you could bet your bottom dollar I was up way past my bedtime finishing a book report due tomorrow. Needless to say, my parents were not pleased that I was staying up late and cramming in my schoolwork at the last possible moment.

But, somehow, I made it work for me. I got good grades, went to a great college, and even though my proclivity towards procrastination did cause me some unwarranted and unnecessary stress, I never strayed from my routine (or lack thereof).

I was one of the people that would say “I work best under pressure,” or “I don’t have any motivation when I have so much time to get something done.” Motivation is certainly a keyword here. Though I would certainly classify myself as someone with goals, passion, and drive, I have always had trouble with the little steps in between the big accomplishments–in the way that I put things off until they can no longer be avoided.

Now, as an adult with a job living in New York City, many of my evenings are spent relaxing in my apartment, watching Netflix, catching up with friends, and perhaps occasionally taking a pre-bedtime nap (yes, I know this makes no sense). Now, I know that these are not inherently “bad” ways to spend my time, and yes I definitely NEED to do these things in order to stay sane, but I have begun to realize that I may be doing them too much.

Working 9-5 means that my free time on nights and weekends are extremely valuable. Part of me wants to utilize this time to accomplish my goals outside of work (writing, reading more, working out, cooking, etc). But the other part of me, the part that loves to indulge, wants to use these precious moments to do mindless activities, order takeout, and binge watch Gossip Girl (which I have already watched numerous times).

I also tend to do this:

Sunday night, I am enjoying the early evening hours, reflecting on what was hopefully a relaxing weekend.

ME: I am going to write down my goals for the week, make a delicious dinner, make my lunch for tomorrow, and go to bed early! It is going to be a great week and I will finally get on track with my life.

24 HOURS LATER

ME: UGH. Whatever, I just want pizza and to lay down.

Many, many, many times have I fallen subject to the temptation to relax TOO MUCH. What I am realizing though, is that these actions wind up causing my stress, anxiety, and a lack of confidence. I find myself feeling blue, talking it out with my husband, and then repeating the cycle.

I am DETERMINED to end this cycle and I have set out a few rules for myself as I try and accomplish this.

  1. Write it down. I have started carrying my bullet journal with me in my purse. It has been unbelievably helpful (even though it’s only been about 1 week) to be able to write down the things I need to do that day, what food I am going to eat, and the things I need to remember. It has helped me to keep myself accountable and is also serving as a central location for my musings and doodles.
  2. Not beating myself up. I am trying to tell myself that it is totally okay to have a little dessert, take a walk around the block, zone out for a few minutes, or watch an episode of TV while I eat dinner. I am not about to try eliminating all of my comforts, but rather incorporate them into a more routine, healthy lifestyle.
  3. Look good. Feel good. Do good. I love pajamas, I love not wearing makeup, I love messy buns and sloppy ponytails. I feel lucky to be the kind of person that does not feel embarrassed to be seen in public with no makeup and a big t-shirt. However, something that my friend from college and I use to say, “look good feel good do good” has really been helpful in my efforts to be a productive human. The idea is that if you take the time to pick out a cute outfit, maybe put on a little makeup, and style your hair, you will, therefore, feel better, more confident, and more productive. You will have begun your day by productively preparing yourself which then propels you into a day of “doing good.”

A week of this has already begun to affect me. I am feeling more calm, more in tune with what I need to do, and I find myself thinking much more clearly, too! I plan to write more posts on this subject, and I look forward to sharing my journey towards productivity!

One thought on “My Struggle with Productivity

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