Our feet hit the floor and we find it hard to stop. Sheer inertia propels us forward from start to finish. We think that if we stop, we may never start again. I can hear my dad saying, “My get up and go done got up and left.” Been there? Are you there now?
At my age and stage, I’m finding that slowing down is not much of a choice. My body commands it of me. I struggle with feeling unproductive.
I feel I lived out many of my younger years more like a machine than allowing myself to be human. In this season, I’m increasingly aware of my humanity and my inability to rock productivity as I once could. Don’t misunderstand. I’m happy to slow down and breathe in life. I wish I would have done much more of that in years gone by because it’s pretty wonderful.
In this fast-paced world we live in we need to find ways to be productive without burning out. We don’t have to do it all. We can’t. We really need to get better at giving ourselves grace and making space to rest.
Note: If you are the disciplined routine type, this post is probably not for you. I read through this list to my husband and it did not compute. He feels most productive when he stays within his routine. We are about 30 years into proving that opposites really do attract.
For those days when we need to give ourselves grace but still get something done, I offer you 10 quick tasks that will enhance your productivity with very little effort.
1- Clean the coffee machine. The dust, the baked-on coffee… wipe it off. Run vinegar water through it then run water through it again once or twice so your morning cuppa doesn’t taste awful.
2- Organize a drawer. Any drawer. Decluttering is one of the best measures of productivity for me. Cleaning out a drawer or even simply straightening up the flatware does wonders for my soul.
3- Make the phone call that you’ve been putting off. This is for all of my fellow introverts out there. I absolutely dread making phone calls. My literal hell would be to get placed in a room with mosquitoes and telephones. I’m not kidding. Seriously, though, when was your last annual physical or dental cleaning? Do it!
4- Read a chapter in a neglected book. Just one chapter. Sometimes I put off reading because my mental goal is to finish the book. Task oriented much?? I can’t possibly finish a book in one sitting but I can read a chapter.
5- Go for a walk. A brisk, short walk can help us regroup mentally and physically. Again, this plays into my task oriented personality. I feel like if I’m going to put the effort into putting on shoes, I need to scale the top of Mt. Everest. A brisk walk for 10 minutes will get the juices flowing. No mountain climbing required.
6- Scrub the toilets. Life always seems a little better when my toilets are clean. It seriously takes about 10 minutes at most to scrub 3 toilets.
7- Take a shower. I have no idea why but some days, taking a shower seems daunting. It is, however, one thing we can do that can change the course of our day for the good. When we don’t shower, we are generally more prone to being couch potatoes.
8- Buy a plant. Productivity is life, plants are alive, therefore plants are productive. Plants supply oxygen – which we need. You do have to remember to water them so this entails more of an ongoing commitment.
9- Delete some emails. It’s so easy to do a search and delete a few hundred emails in a few short minutes. This is life-giving to us email hoarders! You can almost feel the crisp spring air flow through your fingers and hear the chirping birds as you hit that “delete” button.
10- Drink a cup of coffee (or tea). I always feel productive when I’m drinking coffee. I’m being a little cheeky on this one but I do love a good cuppa and I always feel like I’m drinking in grace as I sip.
A few other 10 minute tasks for you to consider:
Set up an online calendar. (Google calendar is my fave!)
Take a power nap. (10 minutes!)
Catch up on paperwork. (Set the clock!)
What tasks do you do that makes you feel productive with minimal effort? Share in the comments.