I was thinking about the last post I wrote on not thinking (get what I did there :)?) as I headed into this past weekend. I braced myself against a todo list that had gotten carried away during the time that I had to take off while I was sick. But I was determined not to let my todo list turn my weekend into a slog of productivity.
But somehow the creativity destroying productivity monster was my default setting. After all our years in school or at a day job where many of us have minimal control over our schedule during the workday it is easy to put together a very regimented todo list with the idea that we have to force ourselves to sit still to update our expenses or make a digital pattern or pay credit card bills until we are “done” and then we can enjoy life and make sure nothing falls apart. I was about to sink into such a stultifying mindset Saturday morning when I stopped myself and wondered if there was a better way. What if I did the activity that sounded most right based on my energy level and then moved to the next and then the next and took all the breaks I needed when I needed them? After all – it is the weekend and even though I had a lot to catch up on I could choose how I structured my time.
And so I did it. I called a work partner when I felt like it, I worked on shelving first thing Sunday morning after our version of brunch because I felt like moving around and using my body, then I took a big rest when I felt like it and worked on the patterns in the evening so I could take a long walk during the day. No rules on the timing of the activities. And I found there was so much less friction. Everything was so much more enjoyable.
Reflecting on this I wonder if you too inherited a version of what “being productive” looks like. It has to occur within specific hours, because that’s the way it has always been. There are certain hours when we are allowed to be active – dedicated break times, “after work” or before work and there are certain hours where we force ourselves to sit for long hours in front of a computer. This stuff can so seep into our personal clocks that it constrains us when we have to do some type of work over the weekend. Maybe we even find ourselves dreading work we love because we make it such a burden for no reason – I can’t go walking until all the pattern work is done!
It is a little scary to just go with your own flow and trust that it will all get done. What if you forget something!? What if you run out of time because you were lollygagging in the kitchen!? Well give it a try and see what happens. I testify here that so much got done and I had more energy and joy doing it. I finally hung shelves for fabric with Drew (thank you, Drew) for the first time since we moved here. Because everything was a flow of activity and not a crushing list of todos. And then you let the other stuff that doesn’t matter so much fall off the list. Because you are flowing and you are therefore not forcing something or loosing site of what matters.
A lot of people reading this have their own gig or side gig. I know that that often means nights and weekends. I get it. That’s what working on the frontier of entrepreneurship often looks like. I hope this helps you create more energy and space in that work so that you find joy and love on the long road to success.
Thank you for all your support.
Go, fight win.