It was not quite a decade ago that I realized I had a productivity problem.
And it wasn’t about not getting things done (although like so many writers — or maybe it’s just humans — I have times when focus doesn’t come as easily as I’d like).
It was about feeling like I always needed to be doing something.
Relaxing, taking time to do something I enjoyed, or worse, “wasting” time watching TV — those were guilty moments that I beat myself up about later or felt I had to rationalize.
There was always a list of things to do — for the business, for the family, for the house, for the finances, for health and happiness — and it seemed to grow longer every day. If I wasn’t working on the list, I was losing ground to it… which meant time not spent productively was not okay.
It wasn’t until I noticed my kids having a hard time taking time to do the things they loved that I realized I was setting a bad example… and that meant I wasn’t really taking good care of myself.
Now, it is important to be productive. We all have things that need doing, whether it’s tidying up the house or taking the car in for an oil change or finishing a project for a client.
But we all have things we want to do that aren’t about being productive or earning money… things like reading novels, going for walks, writing poetry, listening to music, or even just staring up at the sky.
According to Brene Brown, play and rest are essential to living wholeheartedly. Without taking time to play and rest, productivity becomes more difficult, and work becomes less satisfying.
Fully embracing play and rest means letting go of your belief that productivity is what determines your worth. If you’re always putting off having fun or taking a break, chances are you’re tying your value to how much you get done, how busy you are, and how tired you are.
You’ll have a fuller, healthier, more content life if you measure your self-worth by who you are, what your values are, and how closely aligned your actions are to those values.
To do that means getting to know yourself. And that requires you to spend time reflecting, relaxing, doing things you enjoy, hanging out with people you like, and simply allowing yourself to be.
When you give yourself time to not be productive — to just do things you want to do including nothing at all — you’ll find that it’s easier to be productive during your work hours, and that the quality of your work goes up, too.
So, my challenge to you this week is to give yourself some unscheduled time… and then see what a difference it makes.
New on the Site
Since you’re a member of Wealthy Web Writer, I presume you enjoy writing. I’d also be willing to bet you enjoy reading. So, why not put those two loves together into a Book Review? And then submit it for our September Challenge? You could receive a paid byline here on Wealthy Web Writer… and this is an excellent opportunity to hone your skills. Check out all the details right here.
Running a business is demanding. You may love the meat and potatoes of your business — the writing part of it. But there are probably aspects of it you don’t love. In this week’s Reality Blog, Suzanna Fitzgerald talks about the part of doing business she doesn’t love… and how she contends with that.
Google has a new feature that’s very useful to content creators. If you run a blog or have a Money-Making Website, Google’s Search Console Insights (SCI) can help you identify the content your audience loves best so you can give them more of what they want. In this new Tech Corner, you’ll find a quick guide to using SCI.
Mark Your Calendar
September 2 (Thursday): Attending live events can be a great way to make connections and even land new clients. But what about virtual events? It turns out those can be really useful, too, if you know how to take full advantage of the virtual environment. On September 2, I’ll be joined by seasoned event goers and event organizers, Michele Peterson and Kimberly Weitkamp, to talk about how to make virtual events worthwhile — including how to prepare, what to do during the event, and what good follow-up looks like. Join us to get more out of your next virtual event.
September 3 (Friday): Our next Monthly Member Update is on the calendar. Join me to discover five ways you can use simple thank you notes to grow your writing business. Plus, I’ll highlight must-see content, give you a sneak peek at what’s coming up on the site, and answer your freelance web-writing questions live.
Around the Web
I often get asked how to research an audience. This piece on Sprout Social shows you seven ways to use social listening to learn more about your market.
Making good use of social media can be a time-consuming proposition. This post from Buffer provides helpful tips for saving time without cutting corners on quality.
You don’t often need a resume when working as a freelancer, but when you do get a request for one, it’s nice to already have one on hand. Here is a helpful guide to creating a freelancer resume.
Expertise — Authority — Trustworthiness… otherwise known as Google E-A-T. Learn more about how this plays a role in your search engine rankings.
That’s all for now. Make it a great week!