What I had to relearn about productivity and wellness
Full transparency - I’m writing this piece on a flight from Sydney to Melbourne at 6:47am where I’m going to speak at an event at RMIT university. Am I a productivity guru, or just trying to distract myself from the ridiculous turbulence?
Onto the piece.
Image from Unsplash by Carl Heyerdahl
My perception of what it means to be productive has drastically changed over the years.
Initially, my frame of thinking was that productivity equates to using every single hour of your day towards a goal, or task. If you weren’t creating progress, you were wasting your life. Toxic, I know. But can you blame me? That’s all I would read, and listen to from these productivity gurus and influencers who made billions of dollars by working 100 hour weeks, banishing weekends, and relying on their work for serotonin.
I followed their footsteps and nearly burned out, lost friends, and became unhealthy. I gave into the philosophy, and although I saw results at an exponential rate in terms of work and achievements, the other areas of my life became affected.
“I want your undivided attention”
“Be present, leave the emails behind”
"Are you even listening?”
When you’re in the world of hustle and progress in the way that we are influenced, you’re in the world that is absent of balance, rejuvenation, and self-care.
And so after a few years of re-learning what it means to relax, what it means to detach from work and the “hustle” to live a more healthier, and mindful lifestyle, here are 4 brutal lessons I garnered about productivity, and how it’s revolutionized my life to be more present, and grateful for the moment by moment joys of life.
⌛ Schedule and automate everything you can
Have a LinkedIn post to share? Schedule it the week before.
Have a tweet that you need to put out regarding a business or personal branding? Schedule it the week before.
Put out Tik Tok content? You catch the drift.
There are many apps these days that let you schedule and automate your posts, and presence months before.
90% of my LinkedIn posts, tweets, and content are scheduled. Half the time I don’t even realize they’ve been published until I start getting notifications of people engaging.
The relief that I have felt from not having to constantly think about producing has been game-changing. I’m more at ease at being in the present and enjoying the moments that o get with myself and people, rather than the pressure of “Oh, I have to put something up today”. Don’t get me wrong, I love this entire process and adding value, but if you can automate that thought into an easier process, why wouldn’t you?
🎳 Distinguished work and play
Sounds simple to understand - hard to execute.
“I’ll just do it after work” turns into a 2am rut in front of the computer, two red bulls down, and two platters of food beside your table.
That’s not healthy. That is what leads to feeling mentally and emotionally drained.
Have a clear time where you just stop working, or delegate the work to someone or somewhere else. Sometimes this isn’t practical - impending deadline, assessment or someone else is counting on you for a task. That’s acceptable, because that’s life. But that shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. It shouldn’t be daily.
My weekdays consist of detaching myself from all work at 9.
Look, even that is late, but considering I got to bed around 12, it gives me a solid 3 hours for undivided self-care and family and friends time. Gym, family time and unwinding away from the digital world is what that encapsulates.
For me, that works and fits my lifestyle, and I’ve found great rest and rejuvenation. Find what works for you (after some trial and error), and lean on that.
👂 People over productivity
What’s your “WHY?”. Why are you working so much?
I was one of those people that thought progress was everything. It was an addiction. But eventually, as I get older, I realise that true fulfilment and joy comes from being able to share that progress and accomplishments with the people around you. The people that love and care about you. The people that will run through walls for you.
That’s where true fulfilment comes from. You can’t live alone. Humans are social creatures. We literally cannot survive without others. Embrace that your work is vital to your purpose, but also embrace that your meaningful relationships are what define who you are, and your long-term joys.
☠️ Productivity can become toxic
Too much of anything is never good. If you feel like your life is constantly overwhelmed by work and hustling, then there’s clearly an issue. If you feel that self-care is a word that does not exist in your dictionary, there is an issue.
Your health and well-being come before everything else.
You can never take care of someone else, a business or project, if you don’t take care of yourself.
Brutal reminder: you’re not Elon Musk who has to stay in his factory overnight (who knows if that’s even the truth or PR). Take care of yourself, and your effectiveness in delivering your desired outcomes will improve.
And there you have it. My experiences and learnings from productivity have changed, and will continue to change. But one thing I do know, it won’t fall back on what it used to be. I’m grateful to have identified what’s healthy and what’s not.
Sending you the warmth that you can identify it too, and become the best version of yourself.
As always, there's ambition in my coffee - I hope it's in yours too!
💌 Sign up to my newsletter to stay up to date for more content