Be a Human Being Not a Human Doing

There are so many of us striving to do more and more and more.  We are driven to be as productive as possible, and when we fail to live up to our standards (or the standards we imagine others have of us) we have this sense of disappointment – or worse.  I wonder if we’ve lost our perspective along the way somehow.  We need to learn – or relearn – how to make the most of our productivity without losing the critical skill of taking time to relax.  This becomes even more essential if you are dealing with health issues.  This is important for each day.

That need for a feeling of accomplishment is more prevalent for people who don’t work in the traditional sense – whether they work from home, are stay-at-home parents, or do not work.  The days can fly by and looking back appears like “nothing” got done.  Often this is a matter of perspective, as when they sit down and actually start listing what they did, there are many things, small things that do add up over a day.

Therefore we need to pace ourselves.  In looking at your schedule, there are certain things that are non-negotiable.  Your work schedule and appointments can be the structure.  The times around these can be more flexible.  When you consider your “free” time, you likely have tons of things you could put into those open spots.

Since we all have the exact same amount of time to spend in a day, decide what is important to work on.  Set a time limit, even setting the timer, so that you don’t get lost in your task.  You do not need to finish each project you start, you can dedicate a set amount of time to it every x number of days.  You will make consistent progress, without overwhelming yourself, and eventually complete it.

Just as important as making time for those tasks, is making time for you.  Value your energy and sanity enough to leave time for down time.  Time to relax and time for your mind to stop running.  You can set a timer for this as well.

Pay attention when your body or mind gets overwhelmed – then do less the next time.  Do you find yourself utterly exhausted at the end of the day (or before then)?  Do you need to take a day (or more) to recover from a prior day’s activities?  Do you find yourself doing mindless activities when you know you have important things to do?  These are signs that you are pushing yourself too hard.  You are attempting to do more than you can truly handle.

Remember, “We are human beings, not human doings.”  Our value does not come from our level of productivity – or lack thereof.  Nevertheless, we do want to use our time to its fullest potential.  What that fullest potential is will vary from person to person.  We all have limitations, in one way or another.  We can make the most of our time and energy, and it requires that we nurture ourselves in the process.  Interestingly, this often boosts our productiveness too!

Posted in Time Management and tagged , , , .