Sometimes, when an entire day goes by and I realize that I haven’t gotten a single thing down in my to-do list, the feeling is that of guilt and non-productiveness. The reason is, often times the thought of the number of chores ahead of me is enough to have my hands tied. Other times, the enormity of one single chore keeps me in the mode of chronic procrastination! The result is frustration from not being able to utilize my time productively and making an unhappy situation for everyone around me.
I am also realizing that the older I get, the more activities I want to do like reading a bucket-list book, writing more often, exercising, watching value movies, learning a new language etc. apart from the regular ‘fun’ chores of cooking, cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping! Instead of making time for most of them, I get carried away by one activity that the rest remain untouched, or the thought of a thousand chores make me brain-dead so I decide to stare at my phone! I tried to find the root cause of my productivity problems.
The first and foremost reason that I found was my indulgence in social media. I often go online to browse my mail websites(that should take a few minutes) but end up in Facebook or Whatsapp messages all at the tap of few icons on my smartphone. What starts off as a small peek into my email inbox goes on to be a divergence into the forays of the world wide web. Before you know, a big chunk of your time is eaten up by this giant of a web.
Another major cause of non productivity is the inability to overcome the initial hiccup in starting any chore because it is not fun. When I see that the floors need mopping, I would think that it can wait till I pay my bills. I am off to do that, instead end up chatting with a friend because that is more fun and less work. After an hour of chatting I come back to realize that neither did I mop the floor nor do the bills. This is also called procrastination. And the result again is a sense of non-accomplishment 😦
Being unproductive sometimes might not hinder your flow of life. In fact, it is required to take small sanity breaks from your busy schedule so you can be energized. It is only when the state of non-action is prolonged that the scenario becomes chaotic, directionless and frustrating. For me, the things that helped me get everything under my belt was to start off one chore at a time with no brooding over the thought. When you realize the floor needs vacuuming, you simply start off the chore rather than ruminating if you should wait one more day or have someone else do it for you. This saves time and energy and you are less drained, mentally and physically. Most times, it is the thought attached to our activities that drains us than the activity itself. So leave the thought and get down to the arena. The work is waiting for you!
Prioritizing my jobs also helps in being productive. Whenever I have a bunch of things to do, I often start with the most important one and try to focus and finish off each and every item on the checklist. I promise it feels good at the end, even at the cost of missing out on the Facebook updates for half a day, may be one. I am also working on not straying away from the main chore at a given moment. For example, in the media world there is so much information, it is hard not to get distracted or allured. Just make sure not to overdo it or to filter out unnecessary details.
Being conscious of the task at hand improves the quality of the end-result. Let our computer time not be at the cost of a nice long walk or jog outdoors, let our time chatting not be at the cost of fixing a nice meal for the family, let our inclination for gossips not be at the cost of reading a book, listening to great music or learning a new skill. Being productive not only keeps you active and alert, it is also gratifying for what it makes of you!