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  • Elliot Callighan

It's OK Not to Always Be Productive

A quick google search will bring up TONS of articles talking about how you always have to be doing, making and creating. It's almost a challenge and rite of passage to the most dedicated and resilient.


"10,000 words per day."


"I'm going to add 40 new people every day to my pipeline."


"I'm going to write 5 minutes of music every single day. FOREVER."


"ABH - Always Be Hustling"


While I think there is definitely something to be said for consistently flexing your creative muscles and developing yourself, there's also alot of unnecessary pressure that comes with that mindset.


Ultimately, it can turn your view of yourself into something that is conditional based on how productive you are or how much professional achievement (and money) comes your way.




Your personal drive can be a huge influence in your satisfaction and sense of self. But even the most passionate and resilient of us need to acknowledge the other parts of ourselves. And, we shouldn't feel guilty about it.


Planning to relax does not come easy for many people. I know it certainly doesn't for me.


For the longest time, weekends have been an opportunity for me to get more done whether it's writing music or developing Unlock. While that's not bad in and of itself, the problem is that I realized how guilty I felt when I didn't do something work related.


Even after a full work week, I couldn't feel relaxed or like I had earned any kind of break until I had put in hours of work - on my days off.


I'd feel stressed and exhausted from not ever truly taking a break, and my response would be to work more.


Why?


Because I thought the more I did, the more I got done, the better things would get.


It can feel wonderful to be incredibly productive, especially if it's from any sort of creative flow. Those moments when you hear the harmony change or the perfect melody in your head and race to notate it or plunk it out on the piano are incredible.


It can also be about staving fear. We can use work to distract us from other things in life we are afraid to face, or it can be the most direct way to combat that fear if it's related to our business and work.


It can be about fitting into the culture and community you're a part of, which may mean it's born out of insecurity. Is working this much really something that is part of who you are?




We can feel obligated for all those reasons to always be productive during normal times - and now we're 7 months into a pandemic and it's about to get cold outside. Even more time to get work done, right?


Devoting time to yourself, friends, partner, and THE COUCH can actually have a very positive effect on your work. Every aspect of our lives informs the others, and our healthiest moments are when we acknowledge and give time to all things that are important to our development as a whole person. 


The reality is life, your business, your creative ability and so many other things are a set of moving goal posts.


You can always push yourself harder. You can always achieve more and visualize when you've "made it." But odds are when you get there the goal posts will have moved again. And, you will still feel like you could get more done.


I'm realizing that "need to be doing" will never go away, and I'm doing what I can to appreciate what I've done and accomplished on a given day.


Some days I'll work 10+ hours because it feels right. Some days I'll choose not to work at all because other parts of my life deserve that attention.


And that's ok.

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