3 Effective Ways to Increase your Vitality and Productivity
How to Make Sure you do Every Day What Matters to you
Have you ever felt as if you spent the day running around and you still didn’t manage to make a difference to your family or life’s purpose?
I have been there, more times than I care to admit. Coming from a family of high achievers, I thought that doing was better than being; for a long time, I judged people that weren’t always on the move “What are they doing with their lives?” I kept asking myself.
Until I became one of those people.
My mother never sat down, except at night time, after dinner, after re-cleaning the house, after serving a coffee to my dad, and after bringing the rubbish bins out and tucking us to bed. From the moment she woke up, until the second she went to sleep, she was always doing something; working, going to the banks, post office, picking us up from our friends, taking us to school, bringing us to the mall to buy shoes, buying groceries, preparing dinner, visiting relatives. She has always busied her life to the brim, and I have never seen her doing anything for herself, except for the weekly hairdresser appointment (which she doesn’t enjoy but she feels the need to go to) and the monthly visit to the beauty clinic for a Mani and Pedi. The incredible thing is that she has never complained about doing it all.
With such a female role model in the house, I quickly learnt that sitting and staring at the ceiling while someone is multitasking around you is frustrating and uncomfortable; whenever I go home on holidays I always end up doing the washing, the groceries, and the cleaning just to help her out, and to show her how much I appreciate her tough work. “Don’t be silly, you don’t need to help, this is my job, this is what every woman does”.
No mum! This is not what every woman does, and this is certainly not how I want my future to be, or you will have to pick me up with a spatula from the floor.
It took me a long time to understand I didn’t need to busy up my life to feel worth it.
It took me an eternity to understand that if I worked only 5 good hours a day it could be enough, and I didn’t have to keep on going, and I was allowed to sit down and smell the flowers.
When I run around like a crazy bee, refusing help, doing everything on my own, I get to the end of the day completely exhausted and unmotivated. Moreover, my mind keeps going a hundred million an hour, as I don’t prioritise what really matters to me, which leads me to anxiety and dissatisfaction. Not a nice combo!
Until I took the situation in my own hands, and I took charge of my destiny. Enough with the impromptu decisions, the lack of organization and the procrastination, as they were always leading me to the same place of utter discomfort.
If I wanted to be a nurturing figure for my daughter, and if I wanted to grow a successful career and maintain a loving marriage, there was some deep work that needed to be done.
I started by asking myself a question: What matters to you?
That question didn’t get me very far, as there were too many things that mattered to me, nevertheless, it was important to note them down.
I then decided to write an outline of my ideal week.
Guess what? Groceries and ironing didn’t make the cut; family time, writing content and walking in nature stood out from the crowd. It became really easy then to realise I had to make space for the things I loved, as I was wasting my time (life) doing errands that didn’t fulfill me and that didn’t bring me anywhere!
That’s when I had a serious conversation with my partner to understand where we could gather some extra help to improve my (hence his) life, and where we could share tasks. That’s when I stopped doing groceries; it happens that sometimes I need to run to the shop because I have finished the milk I want to have with my tea, but it is not a daily, not even weekly, thing anymore.
I then started scheduling in the things that I wanted to do. It was as simple as buying a calendar and write them down; I don’t mean to pencil them down, I mean to mark them down. I run pass my husband all the activities that require his support, and I invite him to write down his week as well, to avoid wasting time to find out if he’s busy on Thursday or not. Having a calendar filled with the things that I want to do allow me to sleep better at night; I now know when I can go for a walk, when I can spend hours writing articles and emails, and when I can spend quality time with my daughter and family, guilt-free. There is no chaos left in my brain, as everything is written in paper, and I have space to get excited about the days ahead.
I now fully commit to my time and calendar.
Writing down the things you want to do doesn’t stop you from canceling them, and you will also have plenty of people asking to share that time with them. That’s when you have to stick to your gun and commit to your calendar. It seems brutal and useless to say no to a chat with a girlfriend, but it isn’t. If you want to have a chat, schedule it in, but don’t allow last-minute decisions to come in the way of achieving your dream week. Saying yes to many unplanned events will bring you to that same place of resentment and discomfort you are trying to avoid.
Every week I prioritise time in nature, time with family, and time spent writing content; because I focus on what lit me up, I have much more energy throughout the day, I’m more creative and ten times more focused compared to when I used to run around completing tasks that didn’t bring me anywhere.
And trust me, the more organised you get, and the more you will master the art of asking for help, the more extra time you will have to drink a coffee with friends in peace.
It is worth noting that life happens; sometimes my daughter or myself get sick, a friend needs help, a work meeting lasts much longer than expected. Flexibility is key, and as long as you work on prioritising the things that matter to you, you will realise that stress will automatically decrease and you will react much better to the unexpected events that life so magically throws at us.