Six Ways I’m Trying To Be More Productive Right Now

Published by The Connected Reader on

The six "Feel Good Productivty" Experiments I'm working on right now.

So, Taylor Swift won her 13th and 14th Grammy this week and announced her next album drops in April. In the context of The Connected Reader January Read Along Book, Feel Good Productivity by Ali Abdaal, this is just wild.

This woman sure seems to have some feel good productivity. Yes, she’s not married, she doesn’t have children, and she has the money to pay others to do a lot of the tasks that take up time during the day. But, to me, that still doesn’t explain how in the last five years, she has recorded four (soon to be five) new albums, re-recorded four albums, and her Eras Tour has been going on for almost a year across the United States and now, the world. 

When Is It Too Much Productivity?

We’ll never truly know how she’s managed this. It’s just got me thinking about how I carve out the time to be productive in the things that matter to me, in my own context – and if there is such a thing, for me, as being too productive, even when it feels good. Returning to Taylor, my first thought was not wow, she’s done so much, I want to be like her. My first thought was wow, I’m not sure there’s anything I love that much to want to be that productive.

It also made me think of my friend Sarah’s book reflection in January. She noted that she read a lot of books in January and that was great! AND she wondered if it was too many books, and noted she might want to vary the ways she was using her rest time this month. 

I’m continuing to think about how I spend my time, the book Feel Good Productivity, and the conversation we had about it over on Instagram. Here are a few things I’m experimenting with to feel better and get more done (but not too much done). All of this comes from the experiments Abdaal recommends in Feel Good Productivity.

What helps you to increase energy? To unblock? To sustain and avoid burnout?

Six Ways I’m Trying To Be More Productive Right Now (But Not Too Productive)

To Increase My Energy

  • Asking For Help – I’ve become better at communicating the challenges I’m facing and answering a question like “How are you?” more candidly – not so anyone regrets asking me the question, but so that I am showing up and connecting authentically. I have noticed that, while I am more vulnerable in sharing, I still believe it is my responsibility to solve the problems all by myself. Lately I’m working on noticing when I need help and actually asking for it, whether it is with my husband for a childcare dilemma, needing the listening ear of a friend, or seeking out a coach to help me through my current career transition.
  • Reframing Failure – Where are my people who also re-play every mistake in their head and bemoan what a burden they are to others because of it? Because of therapy, the feeling is not as dire as this for me anymore, but it still pops up from time to time. The negative inner voice is pretty loud right now, so I’m working on flipping the story it’s telling me about where I am in my career and the choices I’ve made. The voice tells me I’ve failed, and I’m pushing back to remind myself that this has been a series of experiments and I’ve learned a lot about myself from them.

To Unblock Myself

  • Timeblocking – I’m currently shifting around professional priorities and this means I need to revise my time blocks to align to these priorities. I feel like I was floating a bit through January, doing things at random times, and I know it feels better for me when I’ve got standing time blocks that make up my week.
  • Forgiving Myself – So you know how when you have a task you need to get done and instead you go down a rabbit hole on the Internet and now you’ve wasted 30 minutes so you might as well just give up? I’m working on pausing, acknowledging my brain needed this detour, and hopping back in. A detour doesn’t have to mean the whole day is derailed.

To Sustain and Avoid Burnout

  • Saying no, even when everything is telling me to power through and say yes – I’ve noticed I have a habit of saying yes to something that will happen in the future, and I know that when it actually arrives, I will feel overwhelmed by it, but it’s so far in the future I ignore that feeling. Then when it arrives, I feel overwhelmed. When I got to the part in Feel Good Productivity that describes this, I have never felt more seen. I’m going to start listening to that feeling of overwhelm that I feel initially and say no.
  • Interrogating Alignment – Noticing the misalignment burnout in my life lately has been a revelation for me. Probably something that was obvious to those around me, but it is finally illuminated for me. I’ve realized I’ve worked a lot on alignment in my personal life, but I’ve put my professional life in a box that I decided doesn’t need to be aligned, it’s just something I’ll slog through and do. Spoiler alert: That doesn’t work (but I had to try it to understand that, so it’s not a failure but a learning experience. See what I did there?). I’m now working on understanding who I am as a professional and what I want – and I’m seeking out help with figuring this out.


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