I Am Not June Cleaver, But I Did Increase My Productivity & Positivity
I am a mom, a wife of more than twenty years, and a busy marketer. I always seem to be busy at home and at work. People talk about balance, but I have never truly understood what they meant. If I have free-time I tend to find myself filling it with graphic design projects for friends and family, researching something, trying to exercise, or cleaning out my DVR.
I may be busy, but I am pretty happy most of the time. Struggling to juggle it all, absolutely, but as a self-proclaimed silver linings gal it was all good. I gobble up my quote of the day emails and just about anything that encourages self-improvement. I am prepared for this.
Then I started seeing articles, blog posts, and memes that suggest removing the word “busy” from my vocabulary. These suggestions of ways to simultaneously increase positivity and productivity should have been right up my alley. Yet, I would actually get grumpy about the idea of not saying the word busy. The person who made started that idea has not looked at my project list. What do they know with their degree from, oh, Harvard…
I work in the homebuilding industry, and if you are paying attention, you know anything to do with real estate is booming right now. Add to that; I am part of a growing company that strives for constant improvement. In a moment of brutal honesty, I can also admit that I do this to myself; I get such a high off solving problems that I can find myself in the middle of an ever-increasing project list. Take that Mr. Harvard, I am definitely busy!
I have ambitious personal and professional goals. Goals that in a more typical year would be great for a stretch but not overwhelming. Standard and routine, however, are a thing of the past, and lately I was starting to feel a dark cloud trying to block my view of the sun. Luckily, my hardcore “find the bright side” instincts couldn’t help but point out what a privilege it is that I have a job right now.
Deep breath. Moment of gratitude.
Ok, now, to figure out how to tackle what lies ahead. To do that, I have to make an actionable list.
1: Prioritize all projects and goals. Professionally this was relatively simple because we use EOS and the traction model. I quickly wanted to add new projects, but I appreciate the structure of the defined goals because it helps me say no (or, more accurately, not right now) regardless of how fun or impactful a project might seem. I still have my training wheels on when it comes to saying no, but practice makes perfect!
2: Implement better use of time blocking. I read several articles on how to use time blocking effectively. The concept isn’t new, but a refresher was overdue. Then, I shared the content with my team, and we discussed how we could all use this to work on our project lists and things as essential as regular walks. At home, we created a calendar for my teen. The good news is that I could feel the positive impact almost instantly, and as a bonus, my child and team are saying the same thing.
3: Devote more energy to self-care. I know how this sounds, trust me. I have a female ideal I have spent years trying and failing to live up to. Between the dreams of being a modern June Cleaver and my desire to grow my career, I needed to put it on the list. I feel refreshed after making time for manicures with my mom, regular rummy games with my family, joining in on extracurricular activities, and having dinner at the table. I also joined Weight Watchers and started looking for new outlets for my creativity, including writing down these thoughts.
With the priorities in place, time blocking in full effect, and an increased focus on self-care, things were better, but there was still a little bit of a struggle with mindset. During my daily moment of gratitude, I felt a tug of appreciation because I am employed and have the privilege of working in an organization with a powerful mission. At that moment, I understood the power of the word busy in a different way.
During my daily moment of gratitude, I felt a tug of appreciation because I am employed and have the privilege of working in an organization with a powerful mission. At that moment, I understood the power of the word busy in a different way.
4: Eliminate the word busy from everyday use. If working is, in fact, my very good fortune, then I had to admit I was looking at things wrong. It now seems blatant that consistently talking about how busy I am is both counterproductive and a little insensitive to those currently filing unemployment claims.
After a full week with step four on the list, I am happy to report a shift. It wasn’t a perfect week, and I am confident I slipped and used the word busy, but overall by making a conscious effort to focus on all of the opportunities I had, it was much easier to see the sun. Maybe those doctors from Harvard know something.
If you are still reading, thank you! I would love to learn more about you!
How do you feel when you reach out to a friend, family member, or colleague for something and the response you receive is that they are too busy?
Do you find yourself saying no to things that would "fill your tank" or move your forward because you are too busy?
What do you do to make sure you are building towards being a little better than you were yesterday?