I’ve been thinking – as I often do – about this whole thing we’ve invented called Productivity. It seems to be one of those areas of life I’m here to question. It might be an outgrowth of the years when I was so ill I couldn’t be a consistently “productive” human being, or a predilection for laziness! I don’t think so (on the latter) but I do enjoy large doses of “time-luxury.”
I have had a front-row seat to the anxiety that plagues “the responsible business person” when their pursuit of success overwhelms their ability to effectively assess their true capacity to do their work. It destroys confidence, makes it extremely difficult to let anything go and to tune into (and heed) the needs of the body.
For many people, the measure of a good day depends on how “productive they are, where productive is equated to results or the tasks completed.
Was it a good day? Yes, I got a lot done.
Was it a good day? No, I didn’t get ANYTHING done.
Then there are the self-recriminating judgments:
I don’t know why I woke up thinking about the word “respect” today. Maybe it was the dream I was having in which a faceless woman had committed to some fairly public project, and when she got to the starting gate realized that it wasn’t right for her. She bravely and publicly announced that she would not be able to step into the position…in my dream.
Or maybe it was yesterday’s meeting with a business owner who habitually overloads his workday plan with tasks he can’t reasonably complete, and then turns his well-meaning plans into “This is what I SHOULD have done.”
Or maybe it was the newsletter I received about an upcoming women’s business event in which the speaker would be addressing the issue of procrastination. Message? Get more done in less time with less stress. Been there, done that, let’s move on.
Or maybe it was the conversation I had with my business partner at the end of the day yesterday. We talked about our “plans” for today and at the end of our chat said, “sounds like a good maybe plan.”
One of my clients (I’ll call her Paula) has had a difficult time. Chronic pain has made it hard for her to do her work in a manner and time frame that she would prefer. It’s taken her a while to reconcile her current reality with the productive person she feels she used to be before she became ill. Her sense of frustration escalates any time she compares her level of output today with what she could accomplish in the past, and deems herself “a loser.” The self-judgment throws her head first into the comparison trap.
Paula is determined though. She has come to a place of reconciliation within herself. She realizes that fighting present reality is doing more harm than good. Slowly, but surely, she’s disconnecting her identity from her circumstances.
Asking for or receiving help is not easy. It brings up our greatest fears: being judged, being seen as weak, being rejected, being dependent!
This post concludes my responses to author Danea Horn’s questions. When I contemplated her question, “What was the most important support you received?” I was surprised when I realized that it was my from my husband. You would think I’d know that but I’d not been asked this particular question before.
As often happens, something I’m thinking about gets a little play in “real life.” I was talking to a friend just a few days ago who has been dealing with extreme fatigue. He confessed that he was feeling so poorly the day before that he could barely muster the strength to feed himself. He didn’t know who to call for help – didn’t think he could ask for help. Tears came to his eyes when I told him that he could call on me if he were to need that kind of help again.
And now, onto the last of Danea’s questions…