It’s the the beginning of the year and it seems that everyone is going hard at their 2019 goals, myself included. With all of the promises a new year brings, it’s hard not to want to work on everything, all of the time and work my absolute hardest. However, after “going hard” (day after day, for the first 10 days of the month), I found that although my productivity was off the charts, my ability to relax, let go of my internal to-do list and allow myself to unwind became difficult.
I found myself making checklists in my head during yoga classes, on my phone setting reminders during “Netflix & chill” time with my partner, falling asleep feeling like I’d forgotten something and waking up with my brain buzzing with tasks. I was happy that my to-do list was shrinking and I was making such good progress with my business BUT I felt overworked and anxious—something needed to change ASAP.
So, I took a moment to sit down and check-in with myself. I wrote down my feelings, as you know, I’m a big fan of “writing it out”. I revisited a self-care & work-life balance post of my own, in hopes to re-discover anything helpful that I may have forgotten along the way.
After some thinking, I felt that I could solve all of this by answering one question: How can I create and maintain my CALM while also keeping up with my own standards of productivity? The moment I asked myself this, I laughed, because the answer made itself clear within the question: MY OWN STANDARDS. The standards, goals, deadlines and “to-do” lists were all MINE. I was the author of this story, so, I had the power to change it.
I know I’m not alone here, how many times have you done this? You find yourself in a heaping pile of tasks and deadlines that must be done “a particular way” by a certain time…and it’s all because you created this standard of productivity for yourself. I’ll never forget, my partner once told me “You can’t produce at your highest level all of the time, because you create this expectation (of yourself). People will expect you to deliver your best work in a short amount of time, always, and that’s just not sustainable”. He was right. Working this way is NOT sustainable, whether you work at home, remotely or in-office; you’ve got to create some realistic boundaries and standards for your lifestyle, emotional wellness and health.
So, now, knowing that I was the author, how did I change my story?
I checked my standards. I considered myself. I let go and chose to be kind to myself. Once I understood that I was the one putting the pressure on myself, I simply stopped. You’d be amazed at how different hard or complicated tasks can be when you choose to take the pressure off. Whether you yell at yourself (in your head) -OR- practice self-compassion and patience throughout the process— the project will still be completed (but you’ll feel a lot better if you choose the latter).
I prioritized my self-care over everything else. Revisiting my post “Keeping Sane & Self-Cared-Up While Working” can show you how to make tiny choices throughout the work-day that can improve your well-being.
I lessened my screen time. For me, if it’s there, I’m going to look at it. So, during “Netflix & Chill”, before bed and during down-time, I chose to put my phone in another room or some place less accessible. The emails and social media will be there, take the time you need.
Doing these 3 things, consistently has helped. I’ve noticed that I am still just as productive but my stress levels are lower. I don’t feel anxious about work and I’m okay with “missing out” on a few hours of social media and emails—my me time is absolutely worth more.
Have you been here before? How did you find your way back?