Monday, May 3, 2010

My Productivity Obsession

Love at first sight. I remember when my Dad brought home this pad of 'Things to Do' lists from the office. From that point, the 'Things To Do' list just became part of me. I can't even imagine life without it. Problem is, I ALWAYS want to be productive with my time -- surprise, surprise, I'm productivity-obsessed. So what's wrong with that? Time is precious after all.

For starters, I have a hard time relaxing, even though I know I should. I haven't watched a movie in ages because I can't bear the thought of wasting two hours doing nothing when there's a shit load of stuff to get done. But I'm on mat leave for fucks sake. What so desperately 'needs to get done'?

The other problem is that the Things To Do List is a major source of dissatisfaction. It never ends. Something gets checked off, and three more things get added. The list is a reminder that I am not being productive with my time. I'm on FB, or shopping or snacking most of the day. The list makes me feel like a failure.

Obviously, I want it to stop. Lately, it's those rare moments when my mind is empty and everything feels so still and quiet that I cherish the most. I love weekends that are 'open' -- no commitments, a vague sense of what needs to get done, but no real plan. I'm able to just enjoy BEING instead of feeling pressured to stick to the plan. I'm tired of living this rat race. I want more fun and spontaneity in my life. So, how to get off this productivity train?

Let's start with where this might be coming from. I think it could be genetic. However, Zukav says that "at its roots 'workaholism' (is that what this is?) is the exploitation of people and circumstances in order to avoid pain. It is a narrow focus on the project in front of you. You do not see others or what they are feeling, except when they affect what you are doing. You do not hear others, or listen to what they are saying except when what they say affects you. Friends, promises and priorities all disappear into the self-satisfying obsessive fixation on your job, career or remodeling project. You are impatient with those who cannot see the importance of what you are doing. Even if what you are doing has significance to others, you do it for yourself. Your agenda is to occupy your attention. You cannot experience what you are feeling and your awareness is fixated on accomplishment. The only emotion that you experience is the temporary satisfaction that comes with completing a project, but that is quickly replaced by the need to accomplish something else. "

JEEESH!!! I'd like to think that I'm not that bad -- that I'm capable of putting the needs of my family ahead of my 'Things to Do List'. And what pain am I avoiding? Maybe I need a shrink to help me sort this out?

I have a friend whose favourite thing is to do nothing. Yikes, I can only imagine. Maybe I need to plan a 'Do Nothing' day and allow myself to NOT feel guilty for a change. Maybe I'll make it Mother's Day this year.

ACCEPTANCE keeps popping up. Yes, life is just one damn thing after the next. Accept that the list will never end. I am not a failure for not getting everything done. It's just the way life is!

Stop signing up for shit. I spend a lot of time investigating fun activities for the family. Extra commitments just stress me and everyone else out. I don't need my partner or best friend to be the voice of reason all the time. I can tell myself that I'm taking on too much. I can stop myself before it starts.

So there -- a promise to myself to do less. I want peace badly, so I think it will stick!

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