Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Yin and Yang of Productivity - Philofaxy All Stars Guest post

I'm proud to present you with a fantastic guestpost by Anita, who writes for Philofaxy and has her own blog. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did! 

Once upon a time I thought I could be productive 100% of the time. The problem was that I wasn't very good at relaxing as I'd always be thinking of stuff I should be doing,  instead of enjoying my book or the film I was watching.

Nowadays, I'm much better at this and I try to keep away from the 'shoulds' too. Unfortunately, constantly pushing myself meant that I actually got less done and felt easily overwhelmed. Eventually I realised I'd only properly let myself have time off when I was ill. Silly, eh? However, I just don't think I was that aware of what I was doing.

What I'm trying to do now is find more balance. I used to read lots of productivity websites and blogs, with posts about how to find out where I might be wasting time. I don't like calling it 'wasting' time as it seems too negative to me and I figure it's more about making choices about what we choose to do based on all sorts of criteria.

For instance, one day last week I worked at my accounts job and then gave two shiatsu (a complementary therapy) treatments pretty much one after the other. Whilst my wonderful husband cooked me dinner, I caught up with some posts on Philofaxy and then didn't do anything that productive. I felt I'd worked hard and this was my down time where on purpose I didn't push myself. I feel that I understand myself a little better now and it's healthy for me to have periods where I get loads done and then feel the need to just goof off afterwards.

Last winter I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, and had a nasty bout of flu that I struggled to recover from. Christmas just seemed too much. So, we went away and stayed in a gorgeous apartment overlooking the sea and I read, ran, ate, went walking and not much else. It felt like just what I needed, a healing balm for my weary soul.

So, what has helped me? Lots of things, but I think these are some of the most important:
* Regular meditation - I can't recommend this enough. It helps me stay grounded and generally much more content
* Timeboxing - I set myself chunks of time to work on my bigger projects so that I don't get overwhelmed
* Being gentler with myself (a work in progress!) and working on becoming more aware of what it best for me
* Giving myself permission to have time off and telling myself I deserve it.  

Yin and yang are two parts of a whole where one cannot exist without the other. I think nature helps remind us with the changing of the seasons, but as night follows day I need time to rest and recuperate after my activities.  

Thanks again for this great post, Anita! 


  1. Thank you for a fabulous post - sometimes we all need to remember to spend time doing things we want to do without feeling guilty about all those shoulds :o)

  2. Lovely post - thanks! And thanks for the link to Timeboxing.

  3. Excellent post! I am the same way. If I'm home, I feel like I should be doing something. And my list is so long that I want to get something done. But the reality is that the list grows continuously, so I need to make the time to relax. I've taken to scheduling it my planner and treating it as if it were any other appointment. That usually works. The only time I ever felt completely relaxed was when we were in Turks and Caicos on vacation last year, and that's only because we spent the entire day at the beach or pool and there was no Internet connection. I need more vacations like that!