You lazy lump
Do you know what the opposite of “productivity” actually is? Here’s what Thesaurus.com had to say on the matter: barren, disadvantageous, fruitless, idle, impotent, inactive, lethargic, useless, valueless, weak, worthless.
So I searched for the opposite of “busy”. Here you go: idle, unoccupied, lazy, quiet, inactive.
No wonder we feel the need to constantly be productive and busy, our own language makes it a negative thing to be anything else! And isn’t that what we do? We glorify the constant DOING of STUFF?
You know you feel it, too
I recently asked women in my circles on several social media outlets to tell me of their biggest day to day challenge and what they wish they had more time for. The answers were very telling, and unfortunately not too surprising.
The majority (actually all but 1 out of the 64 respondents) said they had the following challenges:
- Too many things to do everyday
- Keeping up their productivity
- Feeling overwhelmed by their schedules
- Having to revert to autopilot on most days
As for what they wished they had more time for…well, most of them said finding time to do the things they enjoyed and several even said that it wasn’t actually an issue of time at all — they had the time, they just didn’t know how to identify and / or rearrange their priorities.
So begins the unravelling
I can relate to that on so many levels. All of it. I know you can, too.
For me it came to a head this weekend. I’m part of a mom’s business group and a lady was touting an exercise program she created that had amazing results (so say the pictures). I’ve been feeling bleurgh lately, (work has made stress eating mandatory lately), so I reached out to get some information.
She asked me if I had 30-45 mins to work out every day. Immediately the excuses started to come to my mind. “I barely have 15 mins to myself in the bathroom, you want me to commit nearly an hour to working out every day?” “I don’t have the time because the baby keeps me busy.” “I have to be out of the house at 630am to get the kids off to school and daycare and make it to work for 8am classes.”
And she said, “Are there so many commitments that you can’t carve 30 mins out for yourself?”
Of course I replied, ”Well I can probably workout for 30 mins, but then there’s the showering and doing my hair part that I don’t have the time for.”
She kept pushing, and I kept pushing back. But READING my excuses, there in black and white, made me realize how ridiculous I was being. My ego wouldn’t allow me to accept that I had prioritized certain things over other things. Plain and simple.
But no matter what, every single excuse was the consequence of a choice I had made, whether it was to not ask for help with the baby all the way to thinking people give a shit what my hair looks like (hello dry shampoo?).
It was the reminder I needed. I have a MILLION home workout programs. And yet, I keep looking for that “smoking gun” that will allow me to melt into the shape I want. The reality is, EVERY workout program is effective…but you actually have to DO it. Regularly. Like more than once.
So I have decided to QUIT my life. I have decided that it is no longer enough to just say no to things (although that’s been a challenge, too). It is now critical for me to actively use my time to do the things I want to do, without guilt. Without worry of what others will think. Because I NEED to.
It started with sitting down and asking myself several very important questions, clarifying my values and how I wanted to live my life day to day. I’m pleased to say that a harsh truth started to unfold.
Your values aren’t what you think they are
We can talk until we are blue in the face about what is important to us. And the funniest part is how good we are at doing just that… AND dishing out advice to others about how to live their own best life.
But here’s what I realized.
What we value we make visible.
Let me say that again for those in the back.
WHAT WE VALUE WE MAKE VISIBLE.
We fill our lives with what is important. For example, you may say, “My family is very important to me.” but you may only see them twice a year even though they’re only 30 minutes away.
We give reasons like work, schedules not matching, kids activities, commitments here and there… you know the drill. So you say they’re important…
But, no, they’re not important because if they were, you would fill more spaces in your life with them. You would make them more “visible”.
You may say that you love your wife and kids, but when you get home you spend all your free time on social media. Oh we say it’s our way of unwinding and / or reconnecting with friends and catching up on the day’s news. But then why not just 15 mins? Why all evening? Why is your phone the first thing you reach for before you kiss your wife or hug your kids in the morning?
If your phone is always in your hand, your value is your phone and the people on the other end of it. You may LOVE your wife and kids, but you don’t VALUE them or you’d fill more QUALITY time with them.
You may say that your health is important to you, but if you are worried about your hair getting mussed, or how hard it is to get out of bed, or how much effort it takes to eat healthy, then you don’t value your health. You may know you need to change things to be healthy, and you may be concerned, but your health is not important.
You may say that certain things are important to you, but if you prioritize other things over them, then you’re lying to yourself. But unfortunately you’re not lying to anyone else.
Shit. So what to do?
So this week, take some time to think about what you value. What is important to you? What do you want more of in your life? What relationships? What feelings? What experiences? What accomplishments? But don’t then just DO MORE STUFF. Instead, start saying no unapologetically — mostly to yourself! And to your bullshit.
Do more of what you actually know you need to do rather than running on autopilot. QUIT doing things that you keep saying you don’t value. Figure out why you’re avoiding stuff and either quit avoiding it or quit saying it’s important to you. Ask yourself why you’re doing this instead of that. But most importantly, STOP BUYING INTO YOUR OWN BULLSHIT.
How to punch your ego in the face and get over yourself
Sorry, there IS no secret formula.
There’s no online course you can take that will show you how to organize your life. There’s no coach you can hire that will fix your life. There is no teacher out there who will be able to teach you what you need to learn. No trainer is going to make you fit and healthy. There is literally NO ONE out there who will tell you how you should be living your life that will actually help you change your life.
I mean, THERE ARE. Obviously there are. The internet is bursting at the seams with people (coaches with increasingly fancy titles) who are ready to sell you THE THING that will make it all better, easier, and more beautiful.
But the reality is (and this is the hard part) that until YOU DO THE WORK AND MAKE THE HARD CHOICES AND TAKE THE FIRST STEPS, NOTHING in your life will change. NOTHING.
So here, lemme life coach you for a minute:
- Finish reading this post.
- Take 15 mins (or longer if you need to…yes, maybe the 15 mins you’d otherwise spend on the toilet avoiding your kids while scrolling social media) and MAKE A LIST of what you value, what’s important to you, what you want more of and less of.
- Look at your schedule for tomorrow.
- Fill in the blanks (ie: do some of the stuff you listed in step 2).
- Repeat daily.
And there you go.
Give it a shot. But quit fooling yourself into thinking you’re too busy, or that you’re being productive, or that your job doesn’t allow it. Say no to what is not serving a purpose and yes to things that have meaning and add value to your life.
Because we are all drowning in our collective bullshit and having a pretty IG feed is no longer fooling anyone. Least of all, you.