Dear readers, last week, we focused on the first of the three concepts ruining our lives. Today, let’s dive into the remaining two: getting things done and perseverance.
Our society is obsessed with productivity. And so am I. As a mother of two, starting a freelance business as a copywriter from scratch, I had to learn to boost productivity.
So yes, I’m highly productive. I have a list of things for every day and enjoy crossing them off. When a task emerges unexpectedly, I do it and add it to the list to cross it out and get the extra dopamine boost. There is a reason the productivity apps add an animation with fireworks to the “task complete” screen. We enjoy getting things done.
So, get organized and have a to-do list, but be careful. There is a thin line between being productive and seeing your whole life as a task to be completed.
How many times did you go to sleep revising in your head what you have done and the remaining items on the list?
How often have you been thinking about the remaining items on the list while doing something else?
Life’s not a race; life’s a journey, and on a trip, you don’t focus on the milestones you have; the progress is your goal.
I found out lately that this focus on getting things done has led to burnout in my career.
It was February; I was looking forward to skiing with my family and swore to take a break from work. How did this happen? A few months ago, I would not leave my job and be happy about it. I enjoyed writing too much to leave it behind willingly. But now, I saw my career as a race and felt I was falling behind.
I have been working as a copywriter for two years. There were things I needed to get done: improve my website, get better clients, rank higher on Upwork, finish this course, and the others, and it did not go as fast as I wanted. I desired to be on top and the best, yet I was at a certain point in my career and would not get further because time is of the essence here. Only when I stopped to realize that I need not score off another milestone every day, that the life I was living was the prize did I get out of the burnout.
I had to remember why I started in the first place; I loved to write, and earning my living as a writer is more than I had ever hoped for.
So, getting things done is fine and good for your productivity; divide your tasks into smaller ones and cross them off. However, in the big picture, forget this concept completely. Do things, just live.
Persistency is often overrated or misunderstood.
Let me borrow a quote from Derek Sivers here:
If you have a brilliant idea for a blog or an online business, and after a year, you are still broke, then persistence won’t get you there. Either the idea was not good, or your performance was far from brilliant. You have to either look for a different way to push your idea or leave it altogether and invent another one.
You might have heard that you should “knock, and it will be opened to you,” but the saying comes from the bible. And in that case, it is God’s door that you should be knocking on. And contrary to what we believe sometimes, people are no gods. We have our vices, whims, and a limited budget for money and time and must think carefully about what to spend it on.
Please don’t believe the marketing gurus promising you that with their funnel, you will succeed, whatever your idea or your original skill.
You will succeed if your idea is excellent, you are good at pushing it (or hiring an expert), and then, yes, you persist.
But if after a year of you knocking on that door, it remains shut, then ask yourself if you chose the right door.
The same applies to life. You might think that with persistence, you will train your husband to be loyal and loving, but you will only get that far. You might break your kid and teach her to love broccoli, but maybe trying carrots is a better idea than persisting with broccoli.
Think about persistence as a great tool but a terrible enemy when overrated.
That is all for today.
If you missed my article on perfectionism, read it here.