Productivity is a drug. An idol.
For me, at least. I forgot this for a good, long while because I basically haven’t been especially productive since June. I don’t mean to say that I haven’t done things. Oh, I’ve worked, and hard. But this switch to four is still (five months later) proving tricky. So on my very best days, I’ve managed to keep up with at least most of the things needed for basic functioning. I show up almost on time to the places I have to be; I get some laundry and dishes done; the little people eat the food and receive the love and the correction that they need… mostly. So at the end of my very best days, I’m only a tiny bit more behind than I was at the beginning.
And then this week happened, and my husband left for a night on a work trip and took our biggest girl and this meant that bedtime went a bit better than normal and I had HOURS in the evening.
So I did All The Things. All of them. Like, I had a dorky post-it system on a piece of furniture in my living room. The daily tasks were yellow post-its, the funnish tasks were blue, and the BIG tasks were red. Y’all, those four big tasks on the red ones have all been on my list since before Lilly was born. Really, before that last ridiculous month of pregnancy. So for half a year, they’ve moved from one page of my planner to the next, week after week, taking up brain space all the while.
I got them all done over the course of Wednesday and Thursday. And then I added things—red post-it things—that I hadn’t dared to put up, and I did them, too. And it felt GOOD.
This seems worthy of a rest, right?
Not when you’re living like an addict.
Tonight, I got a process night.
I was antsy. I texted a friend. “I want to have words to write or drive to plan or something, anything, that feels like getting something accomplished or setting myself up for better days, but I have no words and no drive. I will read.”
(Even in my reading, I was ill at ease and ended up going to change my sheets because I just had to do.)
It’s the tail end of the year, and I should be taking stock of lessons learned in 2016 so I don’t miss them (and potentially need to relearn them later.)
I read a couple goal-setting posts today, like this fantastic one on Ann Voskamp’s blog, and I could be looking ahead.
Or perhaps I could write an nice, grace-filled post on how I always take the whole of January and sometimes into February to do any vision work for the upcoming year (or, as it happens, the year that’s begun already) and if you don’t have plans or your One Word or some resolutions figured out now, that is OKAY because (duh) that’s what next month is for.
And all of those things are good and I will look over 2016 and I will cast some vision for 2107 (next month) and it’s fine.
The problem was how absolutely hell-bent I was on forcing out the words and the plans.
…and my complete forgetfulness and minimizing of anything I had already done.
…and the way I felt like I needed to prove worth to myself by doing just one more thing.
Earlier this week (roughly the same time as I was kicking my to-do list’s ass) I had a text exchange with my sister-in-law about doing and shoulding and finding freedom. “Doing and shoulding are HARD. I’m glad you’re making space for BEING days.”
Don’t I sound wise and full of grace and like I’ve fought and won this battle already? (Sorry, Julia.)
I want to remember, have to remember, that this is not a thing fought once and done. Doing can become an idol at really any point. Being takes intentionality and practice. (I mean, I think it does. It should, right? Seriously, how the heck would I know?)
Now the dilemma is what to do to stop being so addicted to doing. (Open to suggestions, as usual. What do you do to… not do?)