The Reality of
It's incredibly easy, especially with the prominence of social media in our lives, to peek into other peoples day to day and think that they are the epitome of productive. That they follow the tightest schedule, they succeed the first time they try anything and that almost every day is as successful and productive as we know the definitions to be.
The reality? Remembering social media if a highlight reel of course... It's likely not that way at all!
It took years of working for myself to realise that productivity isn't a one stop shop for all. It doesn't look the same, it doesn't feel the same and if it's truly productive, it should be beneficial for every aspect of your life, not just one sector of it.
But why is that? Why is the definition of productivity not the way we all traditionally see it and experience it? Surely those girl boss attitudes and hovering near burn out have garnered so much success? But at what cost...
Here's why productivity shouldn't and can't look the same for all of us.
This blog post & shop widgets use affiliate links.
Affiliate text links are marked (ad).
The bag featured in these images was a kind PR product/gift.
The jewellery featured in these images is from my own collection.
Read the disclaimer about affiliate links & PR products/gifting here.
I can only assume the first thing that would come to mind when looking at these photos that Alex shot last week, would be what a gorgeous spring day and probably what a beautiful day off this looks like. One thing you certainly wouldn't exclaim is how productive this looks - but for me it was almost as productive and balanced as a day can get. Filled with commercial work, fun in the sun, organic content, great food and drink, zoom calls galore, time to recharge and cuddles with Boe. I learned a long while ago now that productivity looks, feels and is so very different for every single one of us. I also realised it's so very easy to see one persons routine and in turn decimate our own interpretation of being productive. Productive for one person could be wildly unproductive for another, but that's something we have to learn to let go of.
I guess for the majority of us, at least at one time or another, our first instinct in defining productivity, likely would have been the classic 9-5. Working tirelessly, struggling with balance, often taking our work home with us and likely taking on more than we should in a role - all while beating ourselves up about not working hard enough in the long run. I know as a lecturer I did just that and I struggled to be productive when I thought I 'should' have been. It's an experience that has defined how we work for such a long time but now is starting to feel outdated in a society that has worked from home and adapted to new ways of working, especially over the last year. Not only are the effects of the last year shaping our productivity and work ethic in lasting positive ways but as the opportunity to take on far different roles has expanded over the years, the definition of productivity has had to change accordingly with it.
I'd love to know -
What was or is your definition of productive?
Maybe waking up at 5am? Walking the dog as the sunrises? Not looking at your phone until 'work' starts? Meditating before your morning coffee? Making and eating a balanced healthy breakfast? Managing to spend a little extra time on your beauty routine? Getting in a work out before your commute? Catching up on emails/phonecalls during your commute? Working solidly until the end of the day? Checking off your entire 'to do' list? Not needing to take any work home with you? Getting home at a reasonable time?
Now I'd love to know -
What does productive actually look like for you in reality?
Waking up at 8am? Not quite managing to squeeze a work out in? Taking a little quiet time with your first coffee of the day instead? Grabbing breakfast on the way to work? Listening to a mood boosting podcast on your commute? Taking your lunch break away from your desk to recharge? Not quite finishing your 'to do' list? Leaving work a little late because you were chatting with your favourite colleagues? Perhaps it's all the things that your body and mind told you you needed today, rather than all the things you've been told look like productivity over the years?
Just because you don't wake at the crack of dawn every day of the week does not mean you're not productive - perhaps you're just not a morning person? Just because you work from home and sometimes your day ends a little earlier than most does not mean you haven't worked hard - perhaps you've just had a much needed quiet day? Just because you didn't get chance to finish your 'to do' list today doesn't mean you failed - perhaps you just over filled your list in the first place? Just because you don't work through your lunch breaks like another colleague does not mean you're doing less - perhaps they're procrastinating while you're recharging?
I've found that with the emergence of more creative jobs and self employed opportunities in certain industries, it's become very easy for people to insinuate that luck comes before hard work and with that comes a certain amount of intrusive thoughts. We pick apart our own version of productivity because it may not fit in with the traditional ideas we grew up with and it may not even fit in with your best friends/colleagues/partners version.
Just as success, journeys, life, work, timing and relationships all look different - so to should the productivity behind every one of those doors. Whether that's simply always different from someone else's, varies from career to career or even differs immensely from day to day, as we each maneuver through our lives. Productivity should be unapologetically unique to you and your journey, as well as benefitting all the facets of you that exist. Productivity can look as different as you'd like it to look and don't let anyone else sway that for you - you do you.
PS - Can you even believe how cute Boe is in these pictures?! They honestly make my heart burst a little haha You can't tell me running through a field with your pup in tow isn't the ideal end to any productive day!