My source of inspiration when it comes to productivity and getting-things-done-ness is my mama. She’s my go-to gal when I want to get something done, and I’m not sure where to begin. I think of this as a the “mom-factor”, and personally, I think it is some kind of magic spell. She can cook my favourite meal down to perfection and fix the TV and DVD player when it isn’t working. She can sew on buttons and fix rips in clothes, and also carry really heavy things (which I am just so awful at that sometimes when she asks me to carry something heavy and I just physically can’t at all, for a moment we both wonder if I am really her daughter 😛 ). My mom, like most mom’s have a lot of duties, that do not simply begin and end in the house. They work outside the home and inside the home. They juggle so many balls at once, just to make sure everything is moving forward; that meals are on the table, that everyone gets to their soccer practice/dance recital on time, that their husbands know what the heck is going on, that the dog has been walked and fed, that the house is clean, that guests feel warm and welcome and that relationships are maintained. WOW, that is a lot. I hope I can be half the woman she is when I have created my own family dynamic. (I can see her grinning as she is reading this. Hi mom.)
What stops us from being the most efficient and productive version of ourselves?
There are two ways to categorize our sense of “tiredness”, and that is; times when we are mentally tired, and times when we are physically tired.
Contrary to popular belief, it is rare that we both mentally and physically tired at the same time. We have been conditioned to believe that when we are experiencing “tiredness”, that’s it. We’re tired. No further elaboration necessary. I am tired (I’ve had a hard day/I had an argument with my partner/I worked for 12 hours and was on my feet the whole time/ I just had an exam/ I just had a lecture/ I had to walk the dog/ I was looking after the kids/ I cooked dinner). I am the tired and that is that. Because of my tiredness, I am going to choose to sit on my couch for the next 2 hours and go on Facebook. Because of my tiredness, I am going to watch TV for the next 3 hours. The next thing you know, it’s 10:00pm and time for you to start thinking about going to bed because you have a really tiring day tomorrow. What happened to all the things I needed to do? What happened to all the “little things” that I was supposed to figure out today? Well, I was tired.
And while it’s great that we like facebook and watching TV- I have come to the understanding and realization that you can get your facebook-fix in about 10 minutes. You would have gained very little from your first 10 minutes on facebook to the full 2 hours we may spend on it. Yet these actions are justified because “I am tired.”
There is a difference between mentally tired and physically tired. It is rare that you are both types of tired simultaneously. If you can distinguish the difference and understand which category you fall into, you can still do something productive and appropriate.
I know that when we are mentally tired, it’s easy to convince ourselves that we are also physically tired. And I know that when we are physically tired, it’s easy to convince ourself that we are also mentally tired.
But personal growth isn’t about what’s easy. Personal growth is about what works. It is about self awareness.
When you are mentally tired (wuzzy) you may choose to stay away from activities that will use your intellectual and mental energy resources. You probably don’t have much to give. You could however engage in a little light and mindless physical work. Some examples of this could be: vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen, loading the dishwasher, laundry, going to the gym, exercising, going to the grocery store etc.
You are making the most of your tiredness. You are getting things done.
When you are physically tired, you may choose to stay away from activities that will use your physical energy resources. You could engage in activities that don’t require much physical energy, but require you to be on your game mentally. Some examples of this could be: writing e-mails, writing a blog post, making plans, helping your children with homework, studying, cooking, reading etc.
This is a work in progress for myself as well, because I was always conditioned to feel that when I am tired, there’s nothing I can possibly do. But I believe these things can change with some simple awareness.
Now, whenever I feel “tired”, I ask myself what kind of tiredness I am experiencing. I then decide to act appropriately instead of letting my tiredness to control me. I also am making a habit of always asking myself “What can I do now?” throughout the spacious gaps in my day, so that maybe I can choose to do something helpful, beneficial, productive, and hopefully a little bit fun too.
Of course breaks are important, and I like to take them (often!), but I have come to realize that often a 30 minute break is enough.
So to summarize using a point list (because I love lists. It makes everything so much more comprehendible):
How to stop being a lazy-ass.
- Understand that there is a difference between being mentally tired and physically tired. If you can distinguish the difference and determine which one you are, you can still take appropriate and productive action.
- Determine which type of tired you are, and take appropriate and productive action. If you are mentally tired – take some mindless physical action. If you are physically tired – take some mental action.
- Get in the habit of asking yourself “What can I do now that would be beneficial, helpful and productive?” in the small gaps in your day.
- Take breaks when you need them, but understand that often times a 30 minute break is enough.
So this is the lesson I am currently learning and it feels good. I would say it’s a good skill for me to add to my repertoire. This is Malavika 2.0.
Make your day positive!