Freedom can be your ally, freedom can also be your enemy. How are you going to use your freedom, it’s up to you.
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is stretching. The aim is to relax stiff muscles from a night of sleep. The next thing I do is to think of a word or two associated with my dog Jamie. Then it’s time to spring out of the bed and start a new day.
As soon as I get up, my brain is on the lookout for some stimuli – something to make me feel good, engaged and occupied. The first hour or two of my day generally consists of some house chores, even though things are already clean and tidy from the day before when I performed the same tasks, I still do it out of habit.
What about social media? I know how addictive it can be, so I don’t allow myself to reach for the phone until the housework is done. 9 times out of 10, I am able to stick to my morning routine and the reward system. It makes browsing my Facebook feeds less guilty because I feel like I have earned it.
Nowadays, with some much time on my hands, I could easily fall victim to productivity hacks. The truth is, no one really stands behind me monitoring every task on my daily agenda, whether I skip it, disregard it or do nothing at all, and whether I fail or succeed, no one will know anyway. But I can never lie to myself when facing output of my day.
How do you measure your productivity these days? Are you measuring up to your expectations? Are you being too hard on yourself?
I hate the feeling of lagging behind. But who am I competing against? I am competing against myself, I am also competing against time. Just remember, time will always win when you compete against it. I have come to realise, in effect, time has no interest in competing against you. Time only does its job – it just flies and waits for no one. This alone is enough to make time an all-time winner.
As my situation has evolved and changed since early this year, it’s important for me to re-define the meaning of productivity and go along with it. For example:
When it comes to exercise, it’s not about how long, it’s about whether I do exercise when I say I will.
When it comes to reading, it’s not about how many pages, it’s about whether I do pick a book and read it when I say I will.
When it comes to writing, it’s not about how many words, it’s about whether I do sit down and write when I say I will.
I have learned the hard way and realised I am not a factory. My productivity is not about output, but instead, it’s about how meaningful, how well my time is spent.
When I look back on the last 24 hours, one area of productivity I am very much proud of is taking my parents out for a fun afternoon.
I drove them around, we stopped by those hidden treasures that I stumbled across years ago. I watched mum and dad holding hands, walking in nature, relaxing on the benches, soaking up the sun. For 3 hours we spent together, I didn’t think about my anxiety, the future, the pandemic, the job, the unknown etc. Yes, I did think about the past, but only our sweet memories – how I used to take my dog Jamie here exploring those hidden tracks…
Today is a new day, another day to stare at a blank page. As I am about to wrap up this post, it’s worth noting that I didn’t simply sit my ass down and start writing. Way before I began, I had gone through a series of resistance – self-sabotage and negative self-talks. Against the odds, each word I write, it takes me a bit closer to a flow state.
What can I say? Freedom is a buzzword. Use it or lose it? When no allies come to your aid, perhaps it’s time to use the enemies…