I haven’t been productive lately. Ok. Full disclosure. I haven’t been productive for, like, the last two years.
Busy, yes. Productive, no.
I’ve been busy with twitter notifications and emails and stop-and-go traffic and Facebook and Instagram and breaking CNN news updates and Netflix and voicemails and texts, and buying those pretty shoes on Amazon that I don’t need, but not with anything that adds real value to my life.
Like writing does.
I’m the queen of multitasking. What that means to me, now, is I’m giving little attention to a lot of areas in my life, and none of them are being done well — with purpose and meaning.
And not giving laser-focused attention to what I claim matters to me; writing.
Be more productive. By doing less.
But for the last three months, I’ve started putting minutes, that add up to hours, into what is important to me, first. And saying no to the rest.
I’ve stopped multitasking. I stay focused on the essentials instead of busying myself with the non-essentials. By focusing on only a few goals until the end of the year; making my online business profitable and writing on Medium, I have more time to bring these goals to fruition. Giving a lot less energy to the rest.
I started a 30-Day Writing Challenge to keep focused on my goal of writing every day and am holding myself accountable by posting that writing on Medium.
Focus on what’s important to you first; this leaves more room for creating
By clearing away all but the most essential things allows more room for that which gives us the most happiness. By removing the distractions, you create a more meaningful way of life. By cutting out the noise, you create more time for what brings you purpose.
What brings meaning to me is writing
That is not to say writing is easy for me. It is not. In fact, writing is often times hard, and sometimes, painful. But anything worth doing comes with effort, a lot like exercising. Exercising is often challenging for me, but I do it anyway because it gives me a more balanced life, it makes my body stronger, allows it to fight infections faster, gives me more energy to get through my day, it positively affects my mood, which helps me to write.
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. — Paul J. Meyer
Virtually everything meaningful — everything worth doing — requires some effort. Which provides meaning to our lives.
Passive tasks are easy. Like, checking my email 50 times a day, or bingeing all seven seasons of Parks and Rec. These kinds of things serve as a distraction from my essential goals.
I want to live a deliberate, meaningful life, one that is passionate and purposeful. This includes writing every day.
My main objectives going forward:
- Live in the moment — As a writer, when I am practicing living in the moment, whether that means paying attention, going to my regular meditation class or merely deep breathing as I go about my day, not only is my writing better, everything is better because it takes me out of my reactive state. Living in a reactive state is no way to live unless you are at war.
- Reclaim my time — By letting go of passive tasks I add more time to do what is important to me, write.
- Pursue my writing — The only way for me to write better is to write.
- Focus online business — I want to be in control of my financial destiny and my income. I want to monetize my online business and increase my revenue sufficiently.
- Create more and consume less (material consumption) — To practice the art of minimalism. I have leaned towards minimalism my whole life. I have never collected a lot of stuff. What minimalism means to me is having things you use, that serve a purpose, or that make you happy. Not having stuff just because everyone else has stuff.
Passive tasks getting in the way of achieving these objectives:
- Checking email more than once per day — This is such an incredible time suck for me. I would say 95% of my emails are unimportant and don’t need to be read. There isn’t a need for me to continually check them.
- Checking social media sites more than a few times a day — There is no need for me to check Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram more than a few times a day. When I do check social media more often, hours go missing, and the checking doesn’t add joy to my daily life or my productivity.
- Buying things on Amazon, I do not need — I have too much stuff as it is, especially shoes. This is a hard one, I love shoes.
- Binging Netflix — There is an abundance of excellent TV programming at this time in our lives, thanks to the many streaming services. There are many shows I have not seen but want to. But they can wait. I have things to do.
What are your goals? What are you willing to give up to achieve them?
Jessica is a writer and on-line entrepreneur, and a recovering Type A personality. She lives in Los Angeles with her extrovert daughter, two dogs and two cats.