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Have you ever been so busy you weren’t productive at all? I know sometimes that’s hard to imagine. Lots of people equate busyness with productivity but that’s not always the case. I had to learn how to be productive, not busy.
Busy & Productive – Two Different Things
Being productive and busy are two different things. You can be very busy, but not produce anything productive. And you can be very productive and not be overly busy at all.
To be productive you have to be busy with the right things. If my goal today is to sweep out and organize the garage, but I’m inside cleaning all the windowsills, then I’m busy but not too productive.
Do the windowsills need to be cleaned? I’m sure they do. But if my goal today was to sweep and organize the garage, then how does cleaning the windowsills help that? I would be busy all with that, but not being productive in getting my main goal done, cleaning the garage.
We can do the same thing with our businesses. If our goal today is to work on editing 5 blog posts, but we are working on creating social media graphics, are we being productive? No, not really. I’m sure those social media graphics need to be done, but we are not focusing on what our main goal for the day is.
Goals – Help Stop the Busyness
That’s why having a set of goals you want to accomplish for the week helps. I try to have 3 main goals I want to accomplish. Then before my week starts, I work on the order of importance.
Now, with my business, being a technical support manager for business owners, sometimes my client work time is not something I can fully schedule, and it can run over with my business time. I’ve learned to be more flexible, still with my main goals in mind.
I’m sure you are wondering how all of this works with creativity? Well, for me, I work better with deadlines. If I have an open-ended amount of time, then it’s harder for me to buckle down and get things done.
I also believe that the Lord made us to be creative beings. Whether that is something crafty like cross-stitch or crocheting. Or maybe it’s cooking or baking, woodworking, jewelry making, writing, drawing or any number of things that help us create.
I have been a crafter (is that a word lol) almost all my adult life. I’ve done a lot of different crafts but my main ones are cross-stitch and crocheting. I used to love to keep busy with something while watching t.v., curled up on the couch. Then the stressful years came.
Between my father’s quick illness than his passing to learning that one of our family members was diagnosed with a severe mental illness and I was going to be their caregiver, well let’s just say my desire to create left me.
I threw myself into my work and business. It was my was and still is my stress release. It was the one area that I could focus on without drama and not feel the weight of the world on my shoulders.
My husband worried about me for a bit, but it was all I could do. I dropped all crafts, actually losing any desire for anything creative. I stopped reading (I used to read 50-80 books a year). I just couldn’t think of anything but my work, being a caregiver and retreating by myself to our bedroom when I could.
Add to this the fact that I was in a new stage of life, being middle-aged and no longer with little children to take care of, clean up after, etc…and it seemed like all I did was sit in front of my laptop. this went on for about a year and a half.
For the first year, it honestly worked fine. It is what I needed and my husband supported it, knowing it was my stress release. but recently he started wondering if I would ever get back into crafts and reading. I did start reading more this past spring and early summer, but not like I used to.
I also noticed I was becoming busier in front of my laptop but losing my productivity. I was starting to have a hard time focusing, and I was feeling scattered & overwhelmed with my work. I was a little lost on what to do because this was all new to me. I might have had bouts of this once and a while before, but nothing like this.
I tried to pick up and work on a cross-stitch project, but even that seemed too overwhelming. So with no creative outlet, I found I was constantly on my laptop, but it was more stressful this time. If my husband worried I would say something like “You know I like to keep busy, what’s the difference if it’s in front of the laptop or with a craft?”
Then about 3 weeks ago I spent a girl’s day out with my mom, sister, daughter, and niece. Part of that day, of course, was spent at Hobby Lobby. 🙂 My mom and I had seen this new craft, Diamond Art Painting, over a year ago, but we never tried it. While w were at Hobby Lobby we decided to pick up a couple and give it a try.
I got sick shortly after that, and the boxes just sat there. As much as I wanted to try it, I was still struggling with a lack of desire to be creative. Finally, at my mom’s urging, I started my first Diamond Art Painting and I was hooked! It is so relaxing for me. I feel like I used to when I used to cross-stitch or crochet.
I’m not sure why it took a change in crafts for me to be creative again, but maybe it’s just that Diamond Art Painting is very therapeutic. I’ve read in a lot of places how it helps with anxiety and stress. Whatever the reason I’m just glad I have my creative desire back.
Productive not Busy
Now, how does all of this fit with business? I have found that this past week that as I have a desire to craft, I’m being more productive and less busy with my business. Realizing that I don’t have all day and night to stare at my laptop gives me a sense of urging or better put, orderliness. I want to finish work in a good time so I have time for my Diamond Art Painting. And to accomplish that, I need to be productive.
Plus, I feel that having an outlet for my creative side is helping me with clarity and focus. As I said, I believe the Lord made us to be creative and if we aren’t using that part of us, then I think there is a trickle-down effect to all areas of our lives.
For me, it was what I needed for a time. But I see now that loosing that creative side had more affects on my life that I had realized.
Having so much time to work, without other personal goals and outlets, had me being busier but less productive.
What about you? Do you have a creative side? It doesn’t have to be crafts, maybe photography or engine repair. There is no limit to what we can do to be creative. But I do believe we need to do something.
Don’t allow yourself to think that just because you are an empty nester and have all this time, you can do more for your business that you neglect having something that is just for you. Something that brings out your creative side.
You might be surprised at how spending less busy time on your business and more time with some personal creativity helps you be more productive in your business. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.