Don’t be busy.
Just be productive.
I have a feeling that some days we all struggle to be productive. To not procrastinate. I like to think that my procrastination is higher-end than it could be: instead of watching cat videos on YouTube, I read Tumblr funnies on Pinterest and look at things I cant afford to buy on Etsy. But still, it is procrastination.
On Saturday my procrastination reached an all time high- and I had no idea what to do with myself from lunch time onwards. I had attended a conference in the morning, but then had loads of work to do, and zero motivation to begin. My day seemed empty, even though I had a lot to do. And I was just drifting about, in-between cups of tea and Pinterest browses. Taking an English degree where your final product will be a collection of publishable standard poetry sadly does invite itself to procrastination sometimes. I was simply unable to think about how to complete the portfolio I have due in in just over 20 days. Let alone the essay that accompanies it. Still, I attempted to complete a decent amount of work for each of my modules, before heading out to a dance show two of my friends were in. I was busy, but I wasn’t productive. When I went to bed on Saturday, I was determined that Sunday would be a hella productive day…
My most productive days happen to be those where I have a plan. A clear idea of what I need to do, where I need to go, what time I will stop working, and who I will be seeing/making time for. Of course, I love spontaneity, but having a plan makes me feel as if I want to get started on whatever I’m attempting to do- with minimal YouTube and Pinterest breaks. Spontaneity often comes into it, but like to have an idea of when I can afford to be spontaneous- especially around exam season.
Sunday, I started with a lie in. I’d been up at 6am every day, and so an 8am start was more than welcome. First things: breakfast. Then I set off on a walk through the dene, grabbed coffee, and headed home to get on with work. Which I did. And I now have a nearly completed poetry portfolio, edited fifth draft of a research essay, an expansive collection of secondary sources notes for my 48hr exam, and a good start on my critical commentary to go with my poem. I would say the two things which really improved my productivity were the walk, and also using a list. Getting outdoors, with the incentive of coffee, is a brilliant way to get my head levelled out, and ready for work- which the list then helps with.
So what’s the point in all of this? Well, this week I’m going to be trying to approach my ‘To Do’ list with the idea that I am being productive- not simply busy. ‘Busy’ implies that I’m running around, completely stressed out, and without a proper plan. ‘Productive’ implies I have a plan, and I actually find productive kind of enjoyable. For me, a productive day also includes down time, like a walk and a coffee, meeting friends, or turning myself into a blanket burrito and watching a film.